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An  Essay  On  The  Distribution  Of  Wealth 
and  on  the  sources  of  taxation 


On  The 


And  On  The 

Sources  of  Taxation 




Augustus  M.  KelleVy  Bookseller 
New  Tork  ig64 

Library  of  Congress  Catalogue  Card  Number 
64  -  24343 

Printed  in  the  United  States  of  America 



ON    THE 




Part  I.— RENT. 





AND   ON    THE 


BY    THE 







Pkintbd  by  John  Smjth, 

Printkr  to  the   University. 


The  causes  of  the  varying  wealth  and  poverty 
of  nations  have  naturally  at  all  times  attracted 
the  eager  attention  of  mankind.  For  a  long  time, 
however,  it  was  thought  that  there  was  nothing 
in  the  subject  very  difficult  to  understand :  that  the 
only  way  for  a  people  to  get  rich  was  to  procure 
money  or  bullion,  and  that  the  only  way  to  get 
poor  was  to  part  with  them.  The  art  of  enrich- 
ing nations  obviously  consisted,  therefore,  in  devising 
the  means,  first,  of  getting  possession  of  as  much 
of  the  precious  metals  as  possible,  and  then,  of 
holding  them  fast  so  as  to  keep  the  heap  ever  grow- 

It  is  in  the  different  measures,  or  rather  systems 
of  measures,  successively  adopted  to  effect  these 
purposes,  that  we  must  trace  the  rude  but  very 
decided  political  economy  of  the  ages  which  elapsed 
between  the  conquest  of  England  and  the  middle 
of  the  last  century. 

For  some  time,  however,  before  this  later  period, 
there  may  be  discerned,  meandering  through  the  huge 



and  obscure  mass  of  our  mercantile  literature,  a  dim 
line  of  twilight  truth  upon  these  subjects; — a  sus- 
picion rather  hinted  at  than  revealed,  that  after  all, 
the  accumulating  gold  and  silver  might  not,  when 
nations  were  in  question,  be  the  only  mode  of  in- 
creasing their  real  wealth.  But  still  it  was  not  till 
Galiani  in  Italy,  Harris  in  England,  Quesnay  in 
France,  and  above  all  Smith  in  Scotland,  had  pub- 
lished their  respective  works,  that  it  became  ad- 
mitted to  be  an  established  principle,  systematically 
examined  and  demonstratively  proved,  that  national 
wealth  may  consist  not  only  of  gold  and  silver,  but 
of  all  such  things  at  least  as  men  are  content  to 
give  gold  and  silver  in  exchange  for. 

The  circumstances  which  encourage  and  make 
easy,  or  which  discourage  and  obstruct  the  produc- 
tion of  wealth,  taking  this  new  and  enlarged  view 
of  it,  became  at  once  the  objects  of  anxious  en- 
qmry  and  speculation.  In  this  new  path  Smith 
took  the  lead;  and  nothing  which  has  been  done 
since  his  time  in  this  direction,  will  bear  a  com- 
parison with  the  results  of  his  labors.  But  to  those 
engaged  in  the  pursuit  of  this  branch  of  political 
economy,  another  soon  presented  itself.  It  was 
not  possible  to  investigate  carefully  the  circum- 
stances which  affect  the  production  of  national 
wealth,  without  being  struck  by  the  importance  and 
influence    of  those   which    are    connected   with    its 


distributiou :  and  attempts  to  discover  the  laws  which 
determine  the  respective  shares  of  the  landed  pro- 
prietors, the  owners  of  personal  property,  and  the 
laborers,  in  the  annual  produce,  gave  occasion  to 
a  great  deal  of  research,  or  rather  perhaps  a  great 
deal  of  speculation.  Such  speculations  were  pur- 
sued the  more  earnestly,  when  it  was  perceived,  as 
it  necessarily  soon  was,  that  the  power  of  nations 
to  support  and  render  productive  peculiar  forms  of 
taxation,  could  be  little  understood,  till  the  laws 
were  developed  which  determine  the  respective 
shares  of  the  various  classes  of  a  community  in  the 
wealth  annually  created. 

But  the  labors  of  those  who  have  treated  of 
the  principles  which  govern  the  distribution  of 
wealth,  have  as  yet  been  rewarded  by  no  such  suc- 
cess as  that  which  has  crowned  the  efforts  of  those 
who  have  investigated  the  circumstances  which  in- 
fluence the  amount  produced.  On  this  last  branch 
of  the  subject,  much  knowledge  has  been  accumu- 
lated, and  principles  have  been  established,  import- 
ant both  for  theoretical  and  practical  purposes,  how- 
ever difficult  the  application  of  them  to  particular 
circumstances  may  sometimes  be.  These  constitute 
a  body  of  political  truths,  in  the  solidity  and  per- 
manence of  which  a  majority  of  the  enlightened 
and  reflecting  part  of  mankind  may  be  said  to  have 
acquiesced :  while  attempts  to  explain  the  appointed 



course  of  the  distribution  of  wealth,  and  to  unfold 
the  laws  which  limit  and  determine  rents,  wages 
and  profits,  have  hitherto  led  to  little  besides  con- 
tradictory opinions;  and  startling,  and  in  some  in- 
stances, unhappily,  disgusting  and  most  mischievous 

The  germ  of  the  doctrines  of  the  earliest  lead- 
ing writers  on  these  points,  the  French  economists, 
may  be  traced  pretty  clearly  to  some  hasty,  and  cer- 
tainly very  erroneous  opinions,  of  our  own  great 
Locke.  That  sect  of  philosophers  at  last  fancied 
they  could  rigidly  demonstrate,  that  a  portion  of 
the  rent,  (the  produit  net,)  constituted  a  peculiar 
fund,  from  which  alone  all  the  revenues  of  the  state 
must  directly  or  indirectly  be  derived;  and  this 
strange  and  futile  dogma  came  from  their  hands 
based  on  reasonings  and  assumptions,  from  which 
it  appeared  to  result  that  the  amount  of  wages, 
and  the  rate  of  profits,  are  determined  by  causes 
which  keep  them  beyond  the  reach  of  change,  and 
preserve  them  untouched  amidst  the  workings  of 
any  possible  scheme  of  taxation.  Mixed  with  some 
absurdities,  and  much  rash  and  sophisticated  reason- 
ing, the  writings  of  the  economists  contain  many 
truths ;  and  some  of  a  high  order  and  lasting  im- 
portance :  but  even  these  could  not  save  their  repu- 
tation ;  and  by  being  interwoven  in  a  mass  of  error, 
were    for   a   time   less   current,    and    therefore    less 


useful,  than  they  must  otherwise  have  been.  The 
system  found,  it  is  true,  some  devoted  and  fana- 
tical adherents ;  but  in  spite  of  the  zeal  of  these 
supporters,  and  of  its  own  theoretical  plausibility, 
the  instinctive  judgement  of  mankind  revolted  from 
its  strange  conclusions ;  and  by  the  great  body  of 
the  reading  world,  it  was  first  derided,  and  then, 
except  as  occupying  its  spot  in  literary  history,  for- 
gotten. Smith  attempted  little  on  this  part  of  his 
great  subject,  and  that  little  he  did  not  do  well : 
but  his  good  sense  kept  him  aloof  from  absurdities, 
like  those  which  disfigure  the  works  of  some  who 
preceded,  and  of  many  who  have  followed  him  :  and 
the  caution  with  which  he  shrunk  from  plunging 
deep  into  the  investigation,  shews,  perhaps,  that 
he  was  conscious  of  difficulties  which  he  chose  to 
avoid.  Of  him,  however,  it  may  be  said  with  truth, 
that  he  had  done  as  much  as  could  be  expected  from 
one  mind,  when  he  had  illustrated,  applied,  con- 
nected and  multiplied  the  truths  which  before  his 
time  existed  insulated,  and  for  the  most  part  half 
developed,  on  one  main  branch  of  his  subject.  That 
subject  too  we  know  was  itself  at  once  elevated 
by  the  success  of  his  work  to  a  rank  among  the 
great  objects  of  the  intellectual  efforts  of  man- 
kind, which  it  is  little  likely  ever  again  to  lose; 
and  which,  we  must  hope,  will,  at  some  future  day, 
ensure  the  devclopement  of  all  its  intricacies. 


Mr.  Malthus  was  the  first  philosopher,  after 
Smith,  who  laid  foundations  for  the  farther  pro- 
gress of  knowledge.  The  earliest  distinct  views  of 
those  laws  which  govern  the  revenues  of  the  landed 
proprietors,  and  the  wages  of  the  laborers  in  the 
most  advanced  stages  of  civilization',  will  always 
be  to  be  traced  in  his  works  on  population,  and 
on  rent:  and  enough  will  remain  to  leave  him  the 
character  of  a  powerful  and  original  enquirer  after 
truth,  when  time  and  the  labors  of  many  other 
minds  have  corrected  some  essential  errors,  and 
some  hasty  extensions  of  principles, — true  in  them- 
selves, though  of  more  local  or  limited  application, 
than  amidst  the  fervor  of  discovery  they  appeared 
to  their  author  to  be.  But  Mr.  Malthus  has  been 
singularly  unfortunate  in  his  successors ;  under  their 
treatment,  his  works,  instead  of  being  made  the 
foundations  of  a  superstructure  of  useful  truth,  have 
been  used  to  give  the  semblance  of  plausibility  to 
a  mass  of  error,  ingenious  and  harmless  in  some  of 
its  parts,  but  as  a  whole,  most  delusive,  and  unfor- 
tunately most  mischievous. 

On  the  subject  of  rent,  Mr.  INI al thus,  discard- 
ing the  errors  of  the  economists,  shewed  satisfac- 
torily, that  where  land  is  cultivated  by  capitalists 

'   As   far  as   rent   is  concerned,  the  late   Sir   Edward   West 
ought  to  share  this  praise. 


living  on  the  profits  of  their  stock,  and  able  to 
move  it  at  pleasure  to  other  employments,  there 
the  expence  of  tilling  the  worst  quality  of  land 
cultivated  determines  the  average  price  of  raw  pro- 
duce, while  the  difference  of  quality  on  the  supe- 
rior lands  measures  the  rents  yielded  by  them. 

This  was  a  step  towards  understanding  the  cir- 
cumstances which  affect  the  progress  of  a  very 
limited  division  of  rents,  and  the  causes  which  in 
one  very  peculiar  state  of  society  determine  the 
average  prices  of  raw  produce.  Mr.  Ricardo,  how- 
ever, overlooking  altogether  the  limited  extent  of 
the  field  to  which  these  principles  were  really  appli- 
cable, undertook  from  them  alone  to  deduce  the 
laws  which  regulate  the  nature  and  amount  of  the 
revenue  derived  from  land  at  all  places,  and  under 
all  circumstances ;  and  not  content  with  this,  pro- 
ceeded from  the  same  narrow  and  limited  data, 
to  construct  a  general  system  of  the  distribution 
of  wealth,  and  to  explain  the  causes  of  variations 
which  take  place  in  the  rate  of  profits,  or  amount 
of  wages  over  the  surface  of  the  globe.  Mr.  Ri- 
cardo was  a  man  of  talent,  and  he  produced  a  system 
very  ingeniously  combined,  of  purely  hypothetical 
truths;  which,  however,  a  single  comprehensive 
glance  at  the  world  as  it  actually  exists,  is  suffi- 
cient to  shew  to  be  utterly  inconsistent  with  the 
past  and  present  condition  of  mankind. 


Mr.  Malthus'  theory  of  population  has  been  yet 
more  lamentably  abused.  With  the  commanding 
influence  of  superior  talent,  he  had  fixed  at  once 
the  attention  of  the  world  on  a  physical  power  pos- 
sessed by  the  human  race,  of  multiplying  its  aggre- 
gate numbers ;  which,  if  long  exerted  to  its  greatest 
extent,  or  even  to  a  much  less  extent,  must  demon- 
stratively outstrip  any  possible  increase  of  food ;  and 
he  had  shewn  that  much  of  the  happiness  or  misery 
of  a  large  part  of  the  population  of  nations,  must 
always  depend  on  the  extent  to  which  this  power 
is  controlled  by  themselves,  or  on  the  modes  by 
which  population  is  kept  down  to  the  level  of  food 
by  extraneous  circumstances.  The  facts  on  this  sub- 
ject, which  he  brought  to  light,  must  always  hold 
a  prominent  place  in  every  enquiry  into  the  causes 
which  determine  the  social  progress  and  condition 
of  nations :  and  the  most  prominent  place  in  such 
branches  of  those  enquiries,  as  have  for  their  espe- 
cial object,  the  explanation  of  the  laws  which  govern 
variations  in  the  aggregate  numbers  of  a  people,  and 
the  amount  of  subsistence  consumed  by  the  great 
mass  of  every  community ;  or  in  other  words,  its 
rate  of  wages.  But  to  create  and  to  perfect  such 
an  important  department  of  human  knowledge,  was 
hardly  likely  to  be  the  lot  of  one  man,  and  the 
great  work  of  Mr.  Malthus  contains  certainly  the 
elements  of  many  errors,   mixed    with    the  portion 


of  lasting  truth  which  it  was  his  fortune  first  to 
demonstrate.  Those  errors  had  their  origin — partly 
in  a  logically  defective  division  of  the  checks  to 
population  which  he  enumerated  and  examined, — 
partly  in  some  obscurity  and  indecision  existing  in 
his  own  mind,  as  to  the  amount  of  influence  on 
the  progress  of  the  numbers  of  nations,  which  might 
in  practice  be  expected  to  be  exercised  by  moral 
causes  acting  in  opposition  to  the  physical  propen- 
sities of  mankind. 

It  is  the  perilous  privilege  of  really  eminent 
men,  that  their  errors,  as  well  as  their  wisdom, 
should  be  fertile  in  consequences.  Those  of  Mr. 
Malthus  led  at  once  to  forms  of  argument,  and  to 
a  phraseology,  which  cast  a  gloom  over  the  whole 
subject,  and  have  had  a  very  disastrous  effect  on 
the  further  progress  of  knowledge  : — more  disastrous 
indeed,  than  could  possibly  have  been  anticipated 
by  any  one  not  gifted  with  the  power  of  foresee- 
ing the  strange  combination  of  credulity  and  rash- 
ness which  characterises  many  of  the  works  in  which 
his  speculations  have  been  pushed  forwards  to  their 
supposed  practical  conclusions. 

Taking  together  the  two  subjects  of  rent,  and 
of  population  as  it  affects  wages,  we  shall  find  that 
the  germs  of  truth  brought  to  light  by  Mr.  Mal- 
thus, have  been  made  to  give  apparent  support  to 
such  doctrines  as  these: — That  the  revenues  of  the 


proprietors  of  the  soil  over  the  surface  of  the  globe, 
exist   only  because   the   qualities  of  different   soils 
are  different;  and  can  only  be  increased  as  the  dif- 
ferences  in   productiveness    of  the   soils    cultivated 
increase : — That   this  increase  is  always  contempo- 
rary  with   a  decrease  in  the   productive  powers   of 
agriculture,    and    in   the   gains    of  the   productive 
classes,   and  comes   ever  with   loss   and  distress  in 
its   train: — And   that   the   interests  of  the   land- 
lords which  require  such  an  increase,  are,  therefore, 
always  and  necessarily  opposed  to  the  interests   of 
the  state,  and  of  every  other  class  of  society.     The 
fortunes   and  position   in   the   ordinary  progress  of 
nations,  of  the  owners  of  stock,  the  next  leading  body 
in  communities,  are  decided  on  in  a  spirit  scarcely 
less  gloomy.     The  effects  of  that  diminution  in  the 
productive  powers  of  industry,  which  is  supposed  to 
be  indicated  by  increasing  rents,  reach,  it  is  said, 
the  owners  of  capital,  in  the  shape  of  a  dwindling 
rate  of  profits;   and  thus  their  own  remuneration, 
and   their   capacity   to   accumulate   fresh  funds   for 
the  employment  of  labor,  are  always  in  a  necessary 
course  of  gradual   diminution,   while   cultivation   is 
spreading   itself   to   new    soils,    or    multiplying    its 
means  and  efforts   on  the  old.     Of  the  two  richer 
classes,   therefore,   the   one   is   threatened   that  the 
increase  of  the  people,  and  the   spread    of  tillage, 
will  bring  to  it  an  invidious  wealth  founded  on  the 


public  distress,  and  the  other  is  menaced  with  a 
gradual  but  inevitable  decay,  produced  by  the  same 
causes,  and  advancing  at  the  same  pace. 

The  fate  revealed  to  the  most  important  division 
of  the  population,  to  the  great  body  of  the  people, 
was  yet  more  appalling.  In  their  case  a  further 
cause,  and  one  dependent,  like  the  decreasing  fertility 
of  the  soil,  on  an  unchangeable  law  of  nature,  was 
pressing  them  unceasingly  towards  either  misery  or 
guilt.  They  were  endowed,  as  a  part  of  their  phy- 
sical constitution,  with  a  power  and  tendency  to 
multiply  more  rapidly  than  the  means  of  subsist- 
ence; and  their  numbers  could  be  kept  down  to 
the  level  of  those  means,  only  by  checks  which  re- 
solve themselves  into  either  guilt  or  misery,  or  into 
a  pure  state  of  moral  restraint,  which,  according  to 
the  unhappily  narrow  definition  of  it  given  by 
the  author  of  the  doctrine,  was  necessarily  so  rare 
as  to  limit  but  little  by  its  prevalence  the  wide 
action  of  suffering  and  vice.  This  last  opinion 
really  rested  principally  on  a  logical  error  before 
alluded  to,  in  the  division  of  those  causes  into 
which  the  admitted  checks  to  population  resolve 
themselves;  but  it  was  seized  on  and  pushed  to 
its  most  repulsive  consequences  with  a  headlong 
and  pernicious  eagerness,  and  served  to  augment 
the  fearful  amount  of  those  elements  of  discord  and 
suffering,   which  it  was   believed  had  been  demon- 


strated  to  exist  in  the  very  constitution  of  man,  and 
of  the  earth  which  he  inhabits ;  and  which,  accord- 
ing to  this  school  of  writers,  are  necessarily  called 
into  a  state  of  increasing  action  as  the  world  be- 
comes peopled  and  nations  advance.  The  process 
by  which  these  conclusions  were  arrived  at,  involves, 
in  truth,  almost  every  possible  fault  to  which  in- 
attention to  facts,  and  a  perverse  abuse  of  the  mere 
reasoning  faculty  can  give  birth.  First,  there  is 
assumed  a  constantly  decreasing  power  in  agricul- 
tural industry,  as  nations  multiply  and  become  more 
civilized :  then,  that  those  who  procure  subsistence 
by  manual  toil,  the  laboring  classes  of  the  earth, 
are  maintained  exclusively  on  funds  saved  from 
income ; — a  supposition  which,  true  as  to  one  corner 
of  the  world,  when  stated  and  reasoned  upon  as  an 
universal  fact,  is  essentially  false  and  delusive : — 
and  then,  to  these  primary  and  fatal  blunders,  is 
added  a  notion,  that  the  diminishing  rate  of  profit 
observable  as  nations  become  numerous  and  rich, 
indicates  a  decreasing  power  of  accumulating  fresh 
resources ;  a  belief  which  could  not  be  embraced 
for  an  instant,  without  an  almost  wilful  disregard 
of  experience,  and  of  the  testimony  which  the  his- 
tory and  statistical  position  of  every  country  in  the 
world  bear  to  the  laws  really  determining  the  vary- 
ing powers  of  communities  to  accumulate  capital. 
But  the  theoretical  unsoundness  of  these  doctrines. 


glaring  as  it  must  be  to  all  who  are  in  the  habit  of 
subjecting  theoretical  views  to  the  test  of  facts,  was 
thrown  into  the  shade  by  the  fearful  daring  exhi- 
bited in  the  practical  inferences  to  which  they  have 
been  pushed.  The  supposed  continuous  diminution 
in  the  returns  to  agriculture, — its  assumed  effects  on 
the  progress  of  accumulation — and  then,  by  an  er- 
roneous inference  from  a  fact  itself  false,  a  corres- 
ponding incapacity  in  mankind  to  provide  resources 
for  increasing  numbers — these  points  having  been 
first  insisted  on  with  a  dogmatical  air  of  scientific 
superiority,  an  apparent  inconsistency  between  the 
permanence  of  human  happiness,  and  the  natural 
action  of  the  laws  established  by  Providence  was 
enforced.  It  was  darkly,  but  confidently  and  sedu- 
lously hinted  at,  that  the  most  cherished  moral 
feelings  which  guide  the  human  heart,  were,  after 
all,  only  a  mass  of  superstition  which  it  might 
be  hoped  would  decay  with  the  progress  of  philo- 
sophy; that  means  were  in  reserve,  and  ready  to 
be  circulcated,  of  eluding  the  passions  implanted 
by  the  Creator  in  the  original  constitution  of  the 
human  race;  and  that  thus  at  last  human  wisdom 
might  be  made  to  triumph  over  defects  in  the  phy- 
sical arrangements  of  Providence.  Over  the  daring 
details  with  which  this  miserable  philosophy  was 
invested — its  enduring  robe  of  shame — and  over  the 
circumstances  by  which  it  was  brought  into  actual 


contact  with  a  part  of  the  population,  we  must  here 
draw  a  veil.  But  that  the  theoretical  advocacy 
of  these  visions  has,  to  a  certain  extent,  tainted 
the  moral  feeling  of  a  portion,  we  may  hope  a  small 
portion,  of  the  educated  classes, — that  their  indus- 
trious dissemination  by  ready  agents,  worthy  of  the 
task,  has  begun  the  vile  work  of  effecting  self-degra- 
dation, and  extinguishing  all  sentiment  of  moral 
dignity  or  worth,  among  a  part  of  the  lower  orders, — 
are  facts,  which  all  familiar  with  the  subject,  know 
to  be  unhappily  beyond  the  reach  of  doubt-  And 
it  is  important  that  we  should  not  underrate  the 
mischievous  moral  effects  and  consequences  of  a 
superficial  system  of  philosophy,  when  we  are  about 
to  recommend  those  laborious  and  united  efforts 
necessary  to  lay  the  wide  foundations  of  that  body 
of  wholesome  truth  on  these  points,  which  we  hope 
to  shew  may  be  safely  and  solidly  constructed. 

But  although  they  have  had  their  appropriate 
sphere  of  mischief  and  delusion,  it  would  be  a  mis- 
take to  suppose,  that  any  of  the  doctrines  we  have 
been  alluding  to  have  met  with  a  general  recep- 
tion. Philosophers  rushing  forwards  to  uncoil  a 
theory,  may  sometimes  be  observed  shutting  their 
eyes  on  the  corrections  offered  by  the  world  they 
live  in ;  but  mankind  at  large  have  different  habits, 
founded  on  sounder  views  of  the  mode  by  which 
great  general  principles  are  to  be  detected   amidst 


the  confused  action  of  many  causes.  It  wants  no 
great  deal  of  logical  acuteness  to  perceive,  that 
in  political  economy,  maxims  which  profess  to  be 
universal,  can  only  be  founded  on  the  most  com- 
prehensive views  of  society.  The  principles  which 
determine  the  position  and  progress,  and  govern  the 
conduct,  of  large  bodies  of  the  human  race,  placed 
under  different  circumstances,  can  be  learnt  only 
by  an  appeal  to  experience.  He  must,  indeed,  be 
a  shallow  reasoner,  who  by  mere  efforts  of  con- 
sciousness, by  consulting  his  own  views,  feelings 
and  motives,  and  the  narrow  sphere  of  his  personal 
observation,  and  reasoning  a  priori,  from  them  ex- 
pects that  he  shall  be  able  to  anticipate  the  con- 
duct, progress  and  fortunes  of  large  bodies  of  men, 
differing  from  himself  in  moral  or  physical  tem- 
perament, and  influenced  by  differences,  varying  in 
extent  and  variously  combined,  in  climate,  soil, 
religion,  education  and  government.  But  with  the 
first  appeal  from  the  speculation  of  individuals  to 
the  results  of  experience,  as  presented  by  bodies 
of  men  really  existing,  all  belief  in  such  maxims 
on  the  distribution  of  wealth,  as  those  of  which  we 
have  been  speaking,  must  vanish  at  once.  As  soon 
as  we  withdraw  our  eyes  from  books  to  consult  the 
statistical  map  of  the  world,  it  shews  us  that  the 
countries  in  which  the  rent  of  land  is  highest,  in- 
stead of  exhibiting  always  indications  of  a  decline 


in  the  efficiency  of  agriculture,  are  ordinarily  those 
in  which  the  largest  populations  are  maintained  in 
the  greatest  plenty  by  the  exertions  of  the  smallest 
proportion  of  their  laboring  hands.  The  decline  in 
the  rate  of  profit,  which  it  is  admitted  may  be 
observed  in  the  advance  of  population  and  wealth, 
is  so  far  from  being  seen  to  be  accompanied  by 
a  decreasing  productive  power  of  industry  in  any 
of  its  branches,  that  in  countries  in  which  profits 
are  low,  as  England  and  Holland,  there  industry 
is  found  in  the  most  efficient  state,  and  the  rate 
at  which  capital  is  accumulating  is  the  most  rapid. 
On  the  other  hand,  in  those  countries  in  which 
the  rate  of  profit  has  been  long  and  permanently 
high,  as  in  Poland,  and  many  of  the  ruder  parts 
of  Europe  and  Asia,  there  the  productive  power 
of  industry  is  almost  proverbially  feeble,  and  the 
rate  at  which  capital  is  accumulating  notoriously 
slow.  These  are  facts  which  lead  directly  to  the 
conclusion  (of  which  a  careful  analysis  of  the  various 
sources  of  accumulation  will  sufficiently  shew  the 
soundness,)  that  high  profits,  with  a  great  pro- 
ductive power,  and  a  rapid  rate  of  accumulation, 
are,  in  the  history  of  mankind,  an  exception  and 
not   the  rule. 

Again,  looking  at  the  rrte  of  increase  of  the 
different  orders  of  the  population  of  any  one  coun- 
try, it  is  seen  at  once,  that  the  higher  and  middle 


classes,  that  is,  those  classes  which  have  an  almost 
unlimited  command  over  food  and  all  the  means 
of  a  healthful  subsistence,  remain  single  more  fre- 
quently, marry  later,  and  increase  more  slowly, 
than  those  whose  means  of  subsistence  are  more 
scanty ;  and  comparing  afterwards  nation  with 
nation,  a  similar  fact  forces  itself  upon  us ;  and 
we  see  populations,  whose  means  are  compara- 
tively ample,  increasing  less  rapidly  than  those  who 
are  confessedly  most  wretched.  These  facts  indi- 
cate at  once,  to  an  unprejudiced  observer,  the 
presence  and  influence,  among  communities  of  men, 
of  causes  which  coming  into  action  during  the  pro- 
gress of  plenty  and  refinement,  serve  to  moderate 
the  exercise  of  man's  physical  power  of  increase', 
and  are  not  resolvable  evidently  into  misery,  and 
almost  as  evidently,  not  into  unmixed  vice,  or  into 
a  faultless  state  of  moral  restraint.     The  perception 

'  We  shall  not  be  supposed  to  refer  to  the  law  of  nature 
proclaimed  by  Mr.  Sadler,  according  to  which  the  fecundity  of 
females  is  diminished  as  population  becomes  dense.  Of  this 
we  shall  have  a  few  words  to  say  hereafter.  It  is  enough  for 
our  present  purpose  to  shew,  that  the  glance  even  of  a  hasty 
observer  must  detect  the  existence  of  such  moderating  causes 
as  we  are  now  speaking  of,  and  see  them  to  be  distinct  from 
misery,  vice,  or  a  faultless  moral  restraint.  To  shew  the  na- 
ture of  those  causes,  to  throw  light  upon  their  details,  to  ex- 
hibit the  manner  in  which  their  action  is  felt  in  different  stages 
of  civilization,  and  in  communities  differently  organized — this  is 
a  serious  task,  the   successful  execution  of  any   part  of  which 

Ij  presupposes 


of  this  fact  is  of  itself  sufficient  to  inspire  distrust  in 
those  dismal  systems  which  teach  that  the  whole 
human  race  is  under  the  resistless  dominion  of  an 
impulse,  forcing  ever  its  aggregate  numbers  for- 
wards to  the  extreme  limit  of  the  subsistence  they 
can  procure;  and  that  even  wealth  and  plenty 
are  only  forces  which  impel  communities  gradu- 
ally, but  inevitably,  towards  want. 

Between  the  fortunes,  then,  and  varying  rela- 
tive position  of  the  different  orders  of  society,  as 
seen  in  the  ordinary  progress  of  civilization, — and 
the  gloomy  fate,  the  constant  tendency  to  decline, 
the  imceasing  opposition  of  conflicting  interests,  as 
exhibited  in  the  later  theories  of  political  eco- 
nomy:—  there  exist  essential  differences  and  con- 
tradictions which  must  strike  even  a  superficial 
observer,  who  thinks  it  worth  while  to  recur  to 
facts  at  all. 

It  is  in  vain  to  deny,  that  from  this,  and 
perhaps  from  some  other  causes,  a  feeling  of  dis- 
like to  the  whole  subject  has  been  creeping  over 
a  portion  of  the  public  mind.  Political  economy 
has  been  distrusted.  The  facts  on  which  its  con- 
clusions   must  be   founded,  have  been  thought  too 

presupposes  wide  and  patient  observation,  and  very  cautious  in- 
ferences. A  portion  of  that  task  will  be  hereafter  attempted, 
with  a  very  deep  sense  both  of  its  importance  and  its  intricacy. 


multitudinous,  too  variable,  and  too  capricious  in 
their  combinations,  to  admit  of  their  being  accu- 
rately observed  or  truly  analyzed ;  or,  consequently, 
of  their  yielding  any  safe  permanent  general  prin- 
ciples: and  men  have  been  inclined  to  shrink  from 
the  task  of  even  examining  opinions,  which  they 
have  thought  doomed  only  to  startle  without  con- 
vincing, and  then  to  disappear,  and  give  place  to 
another  crop  of  paradoxes. 

This  alienation  has  had  an  unkindly  effect  on 
the  growth  of  knowledge,  and  has  turned  away 
from  the  labors  necessary  to  promote  its  progress, 
many  of  those,  whose  minds  were  the  best  gifted 
with  the  power  of  eradicating  error,  and  advancing 
truth.  But  a  little  thought  must  surely  shew,  that 
the  distrust  earnt  by  many  who  have  treated  of  the 
subject,  has  unjustly  been  extended  to  the  subject 

It  must  be  admitted  that  political  economy 
must  found  all  maxims  which  pretend  to  be  uni- 
versal on  a  comprehensive  and  laborious  appeal  to 
experience; — it  must  be  remembered  steadily,  that 
the  mixt  causes  which  concur  in  producing  the 
various  phenomena  with  which  the  subject  is  con- 
versant, can  only  be  separated,  examined,  and 
thoroughly  understood  by  repeated  observation  of 
events  as  they  occiu-,  or  have  occurred,  in  the  his- 
tory of  nations;    and  can  never  be  submitted  (ex- 

h  2 


cept  in  cases  extremely  rare)  to  premeditated 
experiment; — and  we  must  not  shrink  from  the  in- 
evitable conclusion,  that  the  progress  of  knowledge 
on  such  a  subject  must  be  difficult  and  slow^ ;  and 
that,  almost  in  exact  proportion  to  the  extent  of 
the  field  to  be  observed,  and  the  complexity  and  in- 
tricacy of  the  results  presented  by  it.  Still  even 
these  considerations,  while  they  afford  abundant 
ground  for  caution,  afford  none  at  all  for  despair. 
On  the  contrary,  to  a  mind  well  instructed  in  the 
ordinary  road,  which  inductive  science  has  travelled 
towards  perfection,  the  very  abundance  and  variety 
of  the  materials  on  which  we  have  to  work,  give 
rational  ground  for  steadfast  hope. 

The  progress  of  navigation  and  the  spirit  of  ad- 
venture; a  thirst  for  knowledge,  gain,  or  power;  have 
laid  open  the  structure  of  society  over  the  far  greater 
part  of  the  surface  of  the  inhabited  globe :  and  we 
can  now  embrace  in  one  wide  survey,  the  influence 
of  that  structure  on  the  wealth  and  happiness  of  com- 
munities of  human  beings,  from  their  rudest  to  their 
most  advanced  states,  and  under  all  their  varieties 

^  See  in  the  Appendix  some  observations  by  Mr.  Herschel, 
on  the  different  rates  of  progress  of  those  sciences  which  are  de- 
pendent on  mere  observation  for  their  materials,  and  of  those  in 
■which  experiment  can  be  resorted  to.  I  Iiave  Mr.  Herschel's 
leave  to  use  these  observations  here,  although  it  is  possible  that 
they  may  not  be  actually  published  before  tliis  work  is  out. 


of  form.     To   this  vast  living  field  of  actual  obser- 
vation,    the    universal    story    of    past    times    adds 
another,   scarcely   less   extensive.      It  is  true,  that 
the   facts    which   best   illustrate    principles   in   any 
branch  of  knowledge,   are   little  likely   to  be  care- 
fully recorded,  before  some   glimmering   perception 
of  the   principles  themselves  exists.     Hence  a  neg- 
lect  in    the    historians    of   past    days    to    preserve 
whole   classes   of  facts   which   would    now  be  most 
precious  to   the  philosophical  enquirer;  and   hence, 
doubtless,   in  our  own  times,  there  pass  away  daily 
into  oblivion,   unnoted  by  traveller  or   chronicle,    a 
multitude   of  events  and  circumstances,   which  the 
more   full  developement  of  our  present  subject  will 
hereafter  shew,    to  have  been  rich  in  unheeded  in- 
struction.    But   still,   careless   or  imperfect  as  have 
been  the  observations  of  contemporary  writers,    the 
wide  range  of  history  teems  everywhere  with  facts, 
which  may,   with   care,    be   made   to    enlighten  or 
correct  us  in  our  pursuit.      The  past   and  the  pre- 
sent,  then,  concur  in  offering    to   us   an    abundant 
harvest  of  materials  for  the  construction  of  a  system 
of  economical  truths,  which  shall  be  securely  founded 
on  the  actual  experience  of  mankind.      If  we  ob- 
serve   these    materials  thoroughly,    and   infer   from 
them  with  modesty  and  caution,  it  would  be  mere 
intellectual  cowardice,   to  despair  of  gaining   sound 
knowledge  in  all  the  departments  of  political   eco- 

XXll  PllEFACE. 

nomy.  Difficult  as  the  task  may  be,  we  may  well 
hope  thus  to  obtain  at  last  a  distinct  view  of  the 
laws,  according  to  which  the  produce  of  their  land 
and  labor  is  divided  among  the  several  classes 
which  compose  communities  of  men,  under  all  their 
varieties  of  form  and  circumstances ;  and  of  the  ex- 
tent to  which  the  influence  of  peculiar  modes  of 
that  division  is  felt,  when  reacting  on  the  produc- 
tive powers,  as  well  as  on  the  political  and  moral 
character  and  structure  of  nations. 

Nor  ought  the  passing  theories,  which  have 
successively  been  adopted  and  disappeared  on  these 
branches  of  political  economy,  to  daunt  our  hopes 
for  the  future.  There  has  obviously  been  repeated 
here  an  error,  which  has  been  committed  so  fre- 
quently in  the  pursuit  of  other  objects  of  human 
attainment,  that  the  very  effort  of  exposing  it 
has  become  wearisome.  The  warning  voice  of  the 
great  prophet  of  that  wisdom  which  man  earns  as 
"the  servant  and  interpreter  of  nature \"  has 
again  been  raised  in  vain.  Men  have  preferred  the 
way  of  anticipation  to  that  of  i?iduction^;  they  have 
shrunk  from  the  inevitable  conditions,  the  appointed 
labors,  by  which  knowledge  can  alone  be  safely 
acquired;   in  their  effort  to  establish  general  princi- 

'  Nov.  Org.  Ap.  1. 

*  Nov.  Org.  Ap.  26.  to  30.  and  passim. 


pies,  they  have  quitted  too  soon  the  duty  of  dwell- 
ing long  and  humbly  among  things,  that  they  might 
prematurely  take  up  the  more  fascinating  employ- 
ment of  laying  down  those  maxims  of  imposing 
generality,  which  seem  to  elevate  the  enquirer  at 
once  into  the  legislator  of  his  subject,  and  gift 
him,  as  if  by  some  sudden  manifestation  of  intel- 
lectual power,  with  an  instant  command  over  its 
remotest  details. 

Truth  has  been  missed  therefore,  not  because 
a  steady  and  comprehensive  survey  of  the  story  and 
condition  of  mankind  would  not  yield  truth,  even 
on  this  intricate  subject,  but  because  those  who 
have  been  the  most  prominent  in  circulating  error, 
have  really  turned  aside  from  the  task  of  going 
through  such  an  examination  at  all :  have  confined 
the  observations  on  which  they  founded  their  rea- 
sonings, to  the  small  portion  of  the  earth's  sur- 
face by  which  they  were  immediately  surrounded; 
and  have  then  proceeded  at  once  to  erect  a  super- 
structure of  doctrines  and  opinions,  either  wholly 
false,  or,  if  partially  true,  as  limited  in  their  appli- 
cation as  was  the  field  from  which  the  materials 
for  them  were  collected \ 

^  An  instance  of  this  which  looks  almost  like  wilfulness  (re- 
lating however  to  a  doctrine  of  inferior  importance)  occurs  in 
a  little  work  on  political  economy  by  M.  Destutt  de  Tracy,  a 
metaphysical  writer  of  deserved  eminence  in  his  own  department 
of  literature.     It  is  curious,  because  the  fault  is  ushered  in  by 

a  formula 


The  work  of  which  the  following  pages   forrtl 
a   part,  has  been   constructed   on    a   different  plan, 
with   more  humble  pretensions,    and   with    an    aim 
less  lofty,  though  it  is  hoped  not  less  useful,  than 
that  of  those   who   begin   by   laying   down  axioms 
which  command  the  whole  subject.     My  object  has 
been    to   get   a   sight  of  the  principles,  which   go- 
vern  the   distribution   of  the  wealth   annually   pro- 
duced by  the  lands  and  labor  of  the  human  race ; 
and  of  the  effects  produced  by  the  action  of  those 
principles  among  bodies  of  men  existing  under  dif- 
ferent   circumstances.      And    this    I    have    endea- 
voured  to   do,  under   the   guidance  of    an    abiding 
assurance,    that    the    experience    of    the    past    and 
present,    can   alone,    on   such  a  subject,   afford   any 
sure  foundations  for  anticipations  as  to  the  future. 

a  formula  which  seems  meant  to  serve  for  its  justification  in  that 
and  all  similar  cases.  After  stating  his  individual  experience,  as 
a  proprietor  in  different  parts  of  France,  he  says,  "  quand  on  a 
"  ainsi  un  champ  suffisant  d'observations,  ou  gagne  plus  a  les 
"  apprqfoudir  qu'a  les  etendre;"  and  then  upon  the  strength  of  a 
maxim  so  consolatory  to  indolent  speculators,  he  proceeds  to  an- 
nounce as  an  universal  law,  that  metayer  cultivation  is  peculiar 
to  bad  soils,  "  c'est  le  propre  des  mauvais  pays,"  a  position,  the 
utter  fallacy  of  which  must  have  become  immediately  apparent 
to  M.  Destutt  de  Tracy,  or  indeed  to  any  inquirer  very  much  his 
inferior,  if  he  had  luckily  adopted  the  plan  of'  extending  his  ob- 
servations to  other  districts,  countries,  or  times,  instead  of  that 
of  speculating  pro/butidli/  upon  a  limited  stock  of  facts.  Traite 
D'Economie  Politique  Par  M.  Le  Comte  Destutt  de  Tracy,  &c. 
pp.  122,  123.  and  note.  What  M.  de  Tracy  lias  done  in  one 
point,  others  have  done  in  whole  systems,  as  wc  shall  see. 


I    have  begun    by    analysing  rents,   because    a 
small  progress    in     this    subject    was    sufficient   to 
shew,  that  the  greater  part  of  the  nations    of  the 
earth    are    still    in    that   state    which   is    properly 
called  agricultural ;    that  is,   in  which  the   bulk  of 
their  population  depends  wholly  on  agriculture  for 
subsistence:    and  because   in    this   state   of  society, 
the   relations   between    the   proprietors   of  the   soil 
and  its  occupiers  determine  the  details  of  the  con- 
dition of  the  majority  of  the  people,  and  the  spirit 
and   forms    of  their   political    institutions.     While 
tracing     the    circumstances    to    which     rents     owe 
their  origin,   or  those   by  v*^hich   they   are  affected 
in    their    progress,    there    have    been    first    marked 
out   and  examined   a   few   extensive   and  very   dis- 
tinct classes  of  tenantry,  into   which   the  occupiers 
of  the  cultivated  surface   of  the  globe   soon    shew 
themselves    to    be     divided.      An    endeavour    has 
next    been    made    to    throw    light    on    the    forms 
and   conditions   of   the   contract    between   the    pro- 
prietors   and    the    cultivators,    which    are    peculiar 
to    each    of   these    classes,    and    on    their    distinct 
eflFects    in    the    societies    in    which    they    prevail, 
whether  economical,  political  or  moral.     While  tra- 
velling  through   this   wide   examination,    some  im- 
portant principles  have   been  developed,   which  are 
applicable  to  the  whole  mass  of  rents  taken  in  the 
most  general  point  of  view. 


The  next,  and  yet  more  important  division  of 
the*  annual  produce,  is  that  which  is  consumed  as 
the  wages  of  labor:  and  it  is  taken  in  the  second, 
instead  of  in  the  first  place,  only  because  a  clear 
perception  of  the  causes  which  affect  the  amount  of 
the  remuneration  received  by  the  majority  of  the 
laborers  in  the  world,  (the  peasant  cultivators,)  can 
only  be  attained  after  sl  survey  of  the  forms  and 
conditions  of  the  various  rents  they  pay. 

In  enquiring  into  wages,  I  have  begun  by  ap- 
pealing to  the  experience  of  the  past  and  present 
to  teach,  first,  what  are  the  funds  which  support 
the  laboring  population  of  the  globe:  secondly, 
what  are  the  laws  by  which  the  numbers  of  those 
who  are  to  share  those  funds  are  determined. 

Uniting  the  results  of  these  two  branches  of 
enquiry,  we  may  attain  from  them  a  knowledge  of 
the  circumstances  which  determine  the  condition 
and  prospects  of  those  various  and  distinct  classes 
of  laborers,  which  a  careful  view  of  the  whole 
surface  of  human  society  brings  before  our  notice. 

Enumerating  first  the  funds  from  which  labor 
is  supported,  it  has  been  shewn  that  they  are  va- 
rious and  different,  and  that  of  these  various  funds, 
that  which  is  saved  from  income,  and  is  most  ap- 
propriately called  capital,  is  only  one  and  the  least. 
In  approaching  the  subject  of  the  numbers  of 
those  who    are    to    share    these    funds,    the    whole 

PiiEFAOji:.  xxvii 

subject  of  population  presents  itself,  and  the  task 
cannot  be  avoided,  of  examining  both  the  laws 
which  determine  the  power  of  the  human  race  to 
increase  its  aggregate  numbers,  and  those  by  which 
the  exercise  and  effects  of  that  power  are  con- 
trolled. To  apply  however  the  results  of  this 
general  review  to  our  immediate  subject  of  wages, 
it  will  be  necessary  to  recur  to  those  different 
funds  for  the  support  of  labor,  the  origin  and 
limits   of  which   will   have  been  already  analysed; 


and  to  shew  by  a  reference  to  the  story  and  con- 
dition of  the  different  divisions  of  mankind  sup- 
ported out  of  each  of  them,  what  are  the  peculi- 
arities in  the  nature  of  those  funds,  which  the 
most  materially  affect  the  habits  of  the  laborers; 
and  through  these,  stimulate  or  control  their  dis- 
position to  increase. 

The  laws  which  determine  fluctuations  in  the 
numbers  of  the  laboring  classes,  and  in  the  amount 
of  the  funds  devoted  to  their  maintenance,  once 
explained,  the  circumstances  which  determine  the 
rate  of  wages  in  the  different  stages  and  forms  of 
human  society  will  be  before  us.  After  such  a 
preparation,  and  with  a  proper  knowledge  of  the 
actual  statistical  moral  and  political  condition  of 
particular  communities,  we  may  apply  our  know- 
ledge of  general  principles  with  some  confidence, 
whether  for  the  purpose  of  explaining  their  present 


position,  or  of  anticipating  the  future  course  of  the 
mass  of  their  population. 

It  is  upon  the  same  plan  of  eliciting  principles 
from  the  most  comprehensive  survey  it  is  in  our 
power  to  make,  of  the  mass  of  human  society  in  all 
its  details  and  varieties,  that  the  share  of  the  an- 
nual produce  allotted  to  the  owners  of  capital  has 
been  investigated.  In  performing  this  task,  I  have 
net  confined  myself  to  those  circumstances  alone 
which  affect  the  rate  of  profits,  but  have  consi- 
dered the  growth  of  the  ma^is  of  profits  as  a  point  of 
equal  or  indeed  superior  importance.  With  a  view 
to  understand  fluctuations  in  each  of  these  quanti- 
ties, I  have  examined  in  the  world,  as  it  lies  spread 
before  us,  the  various  and  gradually  multiplying 
functions  of  accumulated  stock.  They  have  been 
traced,  first,  in  those  rude  tribes  or  nations  among 
whom  the  savage  may  be  discerned  fashioning  his 
weapons,  or  the  cultivator,  with  a  scanty  stock  mak- 
ing the  first  imperfect  attempts  at  tillage ;  and  thence, 
through  many  an  intermediate  grade,  to  those  more 
brilliant  theatres  of  industry  and  the  arts,  in  which 
mankind  may  be  observed,  enriched  by  the  successive 
accumulations  of  many  generations,  as  well  as  by  their 
own  ;  and  exercising  by  the  aid  of  these  a  command- 
ing and  increasing  productive  power,  whether  employed 
in  unfolding  the  resources  of  the  earth,  or  in  fashion- 
ing the  material  world  to  their  purposes. 


At   each  step    of  this  progress,   society   is   seen 
to  receive  a   fresh  impression  and  an  altered  form. 
To  detect  the  laws  which  determine  these  changes, 
we  shall  watch  the  growth   of  the   capitalists,  and 
observe    them    at    first    scarcely    distinguishable    as 
a  peculiar  body;  then  separating  themselves  slowly, 
from     the    mass    of   laborers    or    landowners    with 
which    they   were    before    confounded;    assuming  a 
gradually   increasing  share   in    the   direction  of  na- 
tional industry;   and   influencing   at  last  (in  a  few 
instances)  in  the   most  marked   and   decisive  man- 
ner, not  only  the  productive  powers,  but  the  social 
and  political  elements  of  nations.      In  the  progress 
of  this   survey,   there   will   have   been    marked  the 
'various  sources  gradually  multiplying  and  enlarging 
themselves,    which    yield    the    successive    additions 
made  to  the  existing  stock  of  accumulated  wealth. 
We   come   then  to  the  causes  which  determine 
the  proportion   which  the   annual   revenue  allotted 
to   its   owners   bears   to   the    mass   of    accumulated 
wealth    employed,    that    is,     which    determine    the 
rate    of   profit:    and    while   tracking    the    changes 
which  take  place  in   this,    as   communities   became 
more   full  of  wealth,  we  shall,  from  the  results  of 
our   previous   survey,   have   been  placed  in   a   posi- 
tion   to    explain   a  phenomenon,    the    existence   of 
which,    (however   contrary   to    doctrines   lately   cur- 
rent,)   the   instances   of  our   own   countr),    and    of 

XXX  prp:face. 

a  few  others,  will  be  seen  to  put  beyond  the  reach 
of  cavil  or  doubt : — namely,  the  increasing  national 
power  of  rapid  accumulation,  which  is  seen  to  ad- 
vance hand  in  hand  with  a  decreasing  rate  of 

Rents,  Wages  and  Profits  thus  examined,  the 
last  division  of  our  subject  will  be  in  sight,  "  The 
sources  of  Taxation^  We  shall  here  appeal  first 
to  history  and  facts,  to  dissipate  the  error  which  has 
led  more  than  one  sect  of  reasoners*  to  teach,  that 
some  portions  of  the  wealth  annually  produced  and 
distributed,  are  marked  by  the  peculiarity  of  yield- 
ing no  revenue  to  the  state,  and  that  their  receivers 
are  unconsciously  gifted  with  a  power  of  throwing 
back  on  other  classes  the  impositions  nominally 
laid  upon  them.  Tracing  society  then  once  more 
through  its  many  forms  and  many  stages,  we  shall 
endeavour  to  point  out  what  in  each  is  the  nature 
and  amount  of  the  revenue  drawn  by  the  state 
from  the  incomes  of  the  laborers,  the  landowners, 
or  the  capitalists.  We  shall  then  attempt  to  ob- 
serve the  limits  of  the  financial  fruitfulness  of  each 
class;  and  to  determine  the  points,  at  which  an  at- 
tempt to  press  further  upon  a  single  division,  ends 
in  a  real  burthen  upon  one  or  both  of  the  others. 

•  Locke    and    the    Economists   as    to    Profits    and    Wages ; 
Ricardo  (more  partially)  as  to  Wages. 


Viewing  then  the  revenues  of  the  community 
as  a  whole,  it  may  perhaps  be  practicable  to  esti- 
mate how  far  the  state  may  share  in  the  joint 
wealth  of  its  subjects,  without  causing  production 
to  retrograde :  and  where  the  limits  are,  beyond 
which  all  attempts  to  extract  from  a  people  a  per- 
manent public  revenue  fail,  and  if  persevered  in, 
serve  only  to  impoverish  the  sources  of  wealth. 

Most  assuredly  it  is  not  even  hoped  that  so 
large  a  field  as  that  of  which  the  outline  has 
just  been  sketched,  has  been  fully  explored  in  one 
survey,  or  all  its  harvest  of  instruction  reaped. 
But  however  much  may  remain  to  be  done,  it  is 
cheering  to  reflect  that  whatever  knowledge  is  thus 
elicited  by  a  legitimate  and  careful  reference  to 
experience  cannot  deceive   us. 

Even  by  the  present  imperfect  effort,  enough  at 
least  of  knowledge  has  been  so  obtained,  to  de- 
monstrate the  error  of  those  gloomy  notions  of  a 
perpetual  discord  between  rival  interests  in  society, 
and  of  an  inevitable  tendency  to  ultimate  decline, 
which  it  has  been  the  evil  triumph  of  the  spe- 
cious reasonings  lately  inculcated  on  these  sub- 
jects, to  make,  to  a  certain  extent,  plausible  and 
current.  We  shall  see  first  rising  up  before  us 
in  all  parts  of  the  globe  this  prominent  and  un- 
questionable fact; — that  under  no  form  or  modifi- 
cation of  the  relations  between  the  proprietors  and 


cultivators  are  the  permanent  interests  of  the  land- 
lords opposed  to  those  of  the  community  at  large. 
We  shall  observe  circumstances  and  ties  gradually 
unfolding  themselves,  which  in  every  stage  and 
form  of  civilization,  completely  identify  the  real 
interests  of  the  owners  of  the  soil  with  those 
of  society;  and  make  the  permanent  and  progres- 
sive growth  of  the  revenues  of  the  landed  body, 
not  only  consistent  with,  but  dependent  on,  the 
prosperous  career  of  their  tenantry,  and  of  the  com- 
munity to  which  they  belong.  Next,  that  fall  of 
the  rate  of  profits  which  is  so  common  a  pheno- 
menon as  to  be  almost  a  constant  attendant  on 
increasing  population  and  wealth,  is,  it  will  be 
seen,  so  far  from  indicating  greater  feebleness  in  any 
branch  of  industry,  that  it  is  usually  accompanied 
by  an  increasing  productive  power  in  all,  and  by 
an  ability  to  accumulate  fresh  resources,  more 
abundantly  and  more  rapidly \  So  far,  therefore, 
is  this  circumstance  from  being,  as  it  has  hastily 
been  feared  and  described  to  be,  an  unerring  symp- 

•  If  the  prepossessions  of  any  reader  should  lead  him  at 
once  to  treat  this  statement  as  paradoxical,  let  me  beg  of  him 
to  turn  his  eye  to  the  growing  powers  of  production  and  accu- 
mulation displayed  by  England  during  the  last  century,  and  to 
compare  them  with  those  of  the  countries  in  Europe  in  which 
profits  have  continued  the  highest.  The  review  must,  I  think, 
at  least  produce  patience  to  wait  for  the  demonstration  which  is 
promised,  of  the  truth  of  the  statement  in  the  text 


torn  of  national  decay,  that  it  will  be  shewn  to 
be  one  of  the  most  constant  accompaniments  and 
indications  of  economical  prosperity  and  vigor. 

Turning,  then,  to  that  part  of  the  animal  con- 
stitution of  mankind  which  makes  an  extremely 
rapid  increase  of  their  numbers  possible  under  cer- 
tain circumstances,  (which  has  been  the  cause  of 
yet  more  formidable  apprehensions,)  it  will  be  seen 
that  it  is  an  error  to  suppose  that  the  consequences 
of  this  power  of  increase  present  any  real  obstacle 
to  the  permanent  ease  and  happiness  of  any  class 
of  society. 

But  before  we  proceed  with  the  little  we  have 
to  say  on  this  subject  now,  there  are  a  few  pre- 
liminary observations  to  be  made.  The  states  of 
society  from  which  the  principles  here  developed 
are  collected,  are  such  as  are  found  actually  ex- 
isting over  the  surface  of  the  earth.  Some  portion 
of  misery  and  vice  therefore  will  meet  our  view 
at  every  step,  and  of  these  a  part  may  doubtless 
be  traced  to  the  consequences  of  man's  animal 
power  of  multiplying  rapidly  his  kind.  Nay  more, 
while  the  world  exists,  considerable  suflPering  arising 
from  this  cause  will  always  probably  be  to  be  met 
with.  So  far  therefore  the  sufferings  which  can  be 
traced  to  this  source,  like  those  produced  by  the 
earthquake  or  the  storm,  belong  to  a  course  of 
events  which  we  may  not  flatter  ourselves  we  shall 



ever  be  able  wholly  to  arrest.  Both  have  their 
origin  in  the  physical  constitution  of  the  creation. 
As  a  consequence  of  this  view  of  the  power  of  mul- 
tiplication, it  has  been  truly  stated,  that  those  per- 
sons who  do  not  see  in  evils  produced  by  purely 
material  causes  any  thing  inconsistent  with  the 
benevolence  of  the  Creator,  act  very  idly  in  being 
indignant  with  others,  who  assert  the  constant  pre- 
sence of  a  certain  quantity  of  suffering  and  evil, 
which  is  produced  by  causes  of  a  mixt  character, 
partly  moral  and  partly  physical,  such  as  those  are 
which  influence  the  growth  of  the  numbers  of  man- 
kind. But  then  we  must  not  be  led  too  far  by 
this  analogy.  There  are  important  distinctions  be- 
tween evils  produced  by  the  action  of  mere  material 
causes,  and  those  evils,  in  the  production  of  which 
man  is  himself  an  agent.  In  the  one  case  the 
amount  of  evil  to  be  endured  is  certain  and  un- 
avoidable, and  the  individual  sufferers  cannot  escape 
their  doom.  In  the  latter  case  the  average  amount 
of  evil  may  be  indefinitely  diminished  by  human 
efforts,  and  no  individual  sufferer  is  necessarily  a 

The  earthquake  and  the  storm  do  their  ap- 
pointed work,  and  man  can  hardly  produce  a  per- 
ceptible influence  on  the  amount  of  their  ravages, 
or  the  fate  of  the  sufferers.  Now  it  must  be  al- 
lowed  that   the  passions  which  lead  to  vsTong  and 


violence,  are  as  much  a  part  of  the  Creator's  work, 
as  the  obscure  causes  which  produce  physical  con- 
vulsions. But  then  the  average  amount  of  wrong 
or  violence  may  be  diminished  indefinitely  by  the 
institution  of  good  laws,  and  by  the  greater  pre- 
valence of  sound  morals :  and  no  individual  robber 
or  murderer  is  recognized  to  be  a  fated  victim, 
compelled  to  be  such  by  providence  itself.  These 
two  important  reflexions  go  very  far  to  remove  both 
the  gloomy  and  the  depraved  tendency  which  some 
have  perversely  persisted  in  affixing  to  all  admis- 
sions of  the  constant  presence  of  a  certain  quan- 
tity of  moral  evil.  If  we  apply  a  similar  distinction 
to  the  case  of  communities,  and  to  the  peculiar 
class  of  evils  we  are  now  considering,  we  shall 
find  in  the  statistical  history  of  nations,  satis- 
factory indications  of  this  truth,  that  although  cases 
of  national  suffering  caused  by  superabundant 
numbers,  may  be  traced  to  the  animal  constitution 
of  man,  and  so  to  the  physical  structure  of  the 
universe,  and  will  probably  always  prevail  to  some 
extent ;  still  that,  first,  the  average  amount  of  those 
sufferings  may  be  repressed  indefinitely  by  human 
effort,  and  by  the  re-action  of  moral  causes;  and 
then  that  no  one  community  is  necessarily  doomed 
to  endure  any  portion  of  such  suffering  at  all. 
This  view  of  the  subject  is  evidently  full  of  cheer- 
ful promise   to   all  enlightened    and   well-governed 



societies,  as  it  is  too  of  plain  instruction  to  indi- 
viduals, whom  it  very  clearly  warns,  that  their  aim 
and  wisdom  must  ever  be  to  fulfil  their  own  duties, 
and  follow  up  their  own  chances  of  happiness 
steadily,  without  casting  furtive  glances  towards 
the  general  mass  of  evil,  as  a  source  of  either  per- 
plexity or  excuse. 

These   considerations  once  understood,   we  may 
proceed;    and    it    will    be    obvious,    that   since   the 
subject  of  population  as  connected  with  wages  must 
occupy  an  important  portion  of  our  enquiry,  it  will 
be    our    business    to    appeal    to   the   experience    of 
mankind  as  contained   by   the   past  story  and   pre- 
sent condition  of  its  various  branches,  and  to  collect 
thence  a  knowledge  of  the  circumstances  which  in 
different  forms  and  stages  of  society,  contribute  to 
the  prevalence   of  moral    controul   over  the   powers 
of  increase.     The  results  of  such  a  survey  will  be 
found   to   be   these.     Viewing   the    subject   first   as 
it  affects  the  human   race   generally,   and   with   no 
reference   to   wages,   we   shall   see    that   the   dispo- 
sition to   exert   the   full  animal   power   of  increase 
yields   readily    in   the  upper   classes,    to   the   accu- 
mulating force  of  various  motives  for  restraint,  which 
necessarily  multiply  and  gather  more  joint  strength, 
with  the  growth  of  those  artificial  wants  the  fruit 
of  wealth   aud  refinement.     Limiting   our  observa- 
tions then   to   the    laborers,    in  the   less   advanced 


stages  of  society,  we  shall  observe  a  great  influence 
exercised  over  the  industrious  classes  by  others,  which 
controls  the  exercise  of  their  full  powers  of  increase : 
and  when  those  ruder  stages  are  passed  through, 
and  the  lower  classes  are,  like  the  higher,  aban- 
doned wholly  to  the  guidance  of  such  motives  as 
may  spring  up  within  their  own  bosoms,  we  shall 
again,  in  their  case,  have  to  trace  the  eflFects  of 
refinement  and  the  multiplication  of  artificial  wants 
gradually  influencing  the  whole  mass,  as  they 
always  influence  the  upper  portion  of  society.  And, 
where  the  gradual  spread  of  refinement  does  not 
produce  the  effect  of  moderating  the  rate  of  in- 
crease of  the  mass  of  a  population,  we  shall  be 
able  to  trace  the  failure  to  unfavorable  peculiarities 
in  the  circumstances,  or  in  the  legislation  of 

During  this  survey,  we  shall  have  abundant 
opportunities  of  observing,  that  those  natural  and 
wholesome  causes  of  retardation  which  come  into 
general  action  with  the  spread  of  increasing  pros- 
perity are  never  found  necessarily  accessory  to  the 
increase  of  vicious  habits;  much  less  dependent  on 
them.  The  providence  which  implanted  in  the 
heart  of  man  his  feelings  as  to  right  and  wrong, 
will  never  be  found  to  act  so  inconsistently  with 
its  own  purposes ;  as  to  make  pollution  and  crime 
means   for    attaining,    or   retaining,    the   happiness 


of  mankind.  On  the  contrary,  the  portion  of 
voluntary  restraint  necessary  to  produce  such  an 
influence  on  the  progress  of  numbers,  as  calculation 
may  shew  to  be  rationally  desirable,  in  any  stage 
of  society,  will  be  observed  introducing  a  long  train 
of  wholesome  consequences,  and  among  them  much 
dignity,  energy,  and  intellectual  and  moral  purity 
and  elevation.  These,  after  a  fair  balance  has 
been  struck,  will  be  seen  very  far  to  outweigh 
that  portion  of  evil,  which  (such  is  the  condition 
of  humanity)  will  in  this,  as  in  all  other  cases, 
be  found  mingling  itself  among  the  consequences 
of  the  wisest  institutions  of  our  race,  and  of  the 
best  and  most  exalted  feelings  and  passions  of  our 

When  we  have  advanced  so  far  with  our  ex- 
amination of  the  phenomena  which  regulate  or 
follow  the  distribution  of  the  annual  produce  into 
rent,  wages,  and  profits,  we  shall  at  least  have  shewn 
that  the  deep  gloom  which  was  thought  to  over- 
hang much  of  the  subject,  was  but  an  illusion ; 
that  no  causes  of  inevitable  decay  haunt  the  for- 
tunes of  any  class  during  the  progressive  deve- 
lopement  of  the  resources  of  a  country;  that  the 
interests  of  no  portion  of  society  are  ever  perma- 
nently in  opposition  to  those  of  any  other ;  and 
that  there  is  nothing  either  in  the  physical  consti- 
tution of  man,   or  in   that  of  the  earth   which  he 


inhabits,  that  need  enfeeble  the  hopes  and  exertions 
of  those  to  whom  the  high,  and  if  properly  under- 
stood, cheerful  and  animating  task  is  committed, 
of  laboring,  through  wise  laws  and  honest  go- 
vernment, to  secure  the  permanent  harmony  and 
common  prosperity  of  all  classes  of  society. 

But  these  general  views  are  but  a  portion,  though 
in  the  present  state  of  public  opinion,  they  are  per- 
haps not  the  least  important  portion,  of  our  sub- 
ject. There  remain  to  be  developed  and  explained 
a  variety  of  minor  truths,  which,  if  this  branch 
of  political  economy  is  ever  to  be  a  safe  and 
useful  guide,  must  be  securely  placed  on  the  firm 
basis  of  experience.  The  principles  which  contain 
many  of  these  will,  it  is  hoped,  be  found  so  es- 
tablished here:  but  I  should  shew  that  I  ill 
understood  the  extent  and  difficulty  of  the  sub- 
ject, and  the  mode  of  mastering  it  which  I  have 
myself  so  strenuously  recommended,  did  I  not  state 
my  conviction  that  to  compleat  the  knowledge  really 
and  securely  attainable,  on  the  subjects  treated  in 
the  following  pages,  will  still  require  the  patient 
and  assiduous  observations  and  labor  of  many  minds, 
and  probably  of  more  than  one  generation.  During 
this  process,  the  too  hasty  erection  of  whole  systems, 
a  frail  thirst  for  the  premature  exhibition  of  com- 
manding generalities,  will  probably  continue  to  be 
the   sources   of  error  most   to  be   guarded   against. 


It  is,  assuredly  not  by  indulging  and  encouraging 
such  errors  that  the  boundary  of  human  knowledge 
in  this  direction  will  be  successfully  or  safely  ap- 
proached. The  portions  of  truth  which  can  in  the 
first  instance  be  safely  attained,  must  necessarily 
be  narrow  principles,  grounded  upon  a  limited  field 
of  experience,  cautiously  and  patiently  worked  out. 
Wider  generalities  of  more  scientific  simplicity,  can 
only  be  approached  after  these  intermediate  truths 
have  been  mastered.  This  is  the  appointed  course 
of  true  and  permanent  science.  To  spring  at  once 
from  partial  and  broken  observations  to  the  most 
general  axioms;  to  dart  from  a  state  of  ignorance 
and  confusion  upon  the  fundamental  and  ultimate 
elements  of  systematic  knowledge,  without  touching 
the  ground  during  the  intermediate  flight:  this  is 
the  course  of  a  rash  theorist,  and  not  of  a  phi- 
losopher; and  those  who  have  often  tracked  that 
course,  must  know  but  too  well,  that  the  very 
simplicity  and  commanding  aspect  of  propositions 
so  attained,  is  much  oftener  a  warning  of  the  in- 
security of  their  application,  than  any  evidence  of 
their  truth. 

It  will  not  be  thought,  I  hope,  that  these 
many  warnings  come  of  faintheartedness.  Did 
I  not  distinctly  see  in  the  far  distance  a  goal 
worthy  of  the  toil,  I  should  not  have  applied  my 
shoulder  to   the  humble   task  of  advancing   the  car 



of  knowledge  one  span's  length  in  its  career. 
I  firmly  believe  that  the  day  will  come  when  the 
most  intricate  practical  problems  connected  with 
the  whole  subject  of  the  "  Distribution  of  Wealth** 
will  be  readily  solved  by  the  application  of  princi- 
ples firmly  established  and  thoroughly  understood; 
nor  do  I  think  that  this  confidence  is  tinged  with 
rashness.  If,  in  the  road  to  truth  through  obser- 
vation and  induction,  men  can  advance  only  by  slow 
and  laborious  steps,  it  is  at  least  the  privilege  of 
those  who  tread  it,  to  see  through  its  long  vista, 
a  cheering  spectacle  of  final  triumphs.  While 
viewing  the  destined  progress  of  a  career  so  full 
of  majesty  and  promise,  they  may  forget  without 
presumption,  both  their  own  individual  feebleness, 
and  that  of  their  fellow  men  ;  and  look  forward 
to  conquests  to  be  won  by  the  united  efforts  of 
the  race,  and  by  the  growing  discoveries  of  succes- 
sive generations. 

Before  I  close  this  Preface,  the  grateful  task 
remains  to  be  performed,  of  returning  my  thanks 
to  the  University  of  Cambridge,  and  to  the 
Syndics  of  its  Press,  for  having  extended  their 
assistance  to  my  attempt.  These  pages  were 
printed  at  their  press,  and  at  their  expence.  The 
aid  thus  given  is  in  itself  an  obligation :  but  the 
feelings  with  which  it  is  received,  are  in  my  case 
considerably    heightened,    by     its    being    in    some 

xlii  PREFACE. 

measure  a  renewal  in  maturer  life,  of  my  connec- 
tion with  a  body  which  I  have  never  ceased  to 
regard  with  the  utmost  affection  and  respect; 
because  I  owe  to  my  entrance  into  it  much  of 
the  purest  and  most  vivid  happiness  of  my  early 
life,  and  opportunities  at  least  of  intellectual  cul- 
ture, for  which  I  can  only  feel  the  more  grateful, 
as  advancing  years  shew  me  more  clearly,  what 
benefits  they  may  bestow,  on  those  who  have 
the  good  fortune  and  the  industry  to  use  them 



Origin  of  enqiiiries  into  the  causes  which  influence  the  production  of  ■wealth— 
generation  and  cultivation  of  the  branch  of  economical  enquiry  which  re- 
lates to  the  distribution  of  wealth,  p.  i.  Different  success  which  has  re- 
warded those  who  pursued  the  one  or  the  other  branch  of  enquiry French 

Economists — Locke — Smith — Malthus,  p.  iii — Unfortunate  in  his  suc- 
cessors— gloomy  complexion  of  their  doctrines — their  mistakes — as  to  rent — 
as  to  population — as  to  the  effects  of  a  declining  rate  of  profits — miserable 
practical  consequences  of  their  errors,  p.  vi.  Contradiction  of  their  conclu- 
sions presented  by  obvious  facts — effect  of  this  contradiction  on  the  public 
mind — unpopularity  of  what  is  called  Political  Economy — injustice  of  vague 
distrust  in  the  subject — Truth  to  be  obtained  by  observation  and  induction 
— abundance  of  materials  now  open  to  enquirers — Causes  of  former  failure — 
neglect  of  warnings  of  the  author  of  inductive  philosophy — necessity  of 
future  labor — and  grounds  of  hope,  p.  xiv. 

Object  and  plan  of  the  following  Work — abiding  assurance  of  the  Author  that 
the  experience  of  the  past  and  present  can  alone  afford  grounds  for  reasoning 
as  to  the  future,  p.  xxiv. 

Rents  selected  to  begin  with — why — division  of  rents  into  Classes — Wages.— 
funds  which  support  laborers  divided  into  classes — principles  of  population 
Capital — rate  of  profits — mass  of  profits — functions  of  capital — Taxation- 
history — departments — limits. 

Views  taken  of  these  subjects  felt  to  be  incomplete — yet  has  yielded  much  cheer- 
ing truth ^harmony  between   interests  of  proprietors  and  those  of  other 

classes  —  Declining  rate  of  profit  no  indication  of  weakness  or  decay, 
p.  XXV.  Population — different  modes  of  incidence  of  moral  and  physical 
evil — consolation  which  the  distinction  affords  both  to  individuals  and 
states — wholesome  causes  of  the  retardation  of  population — their  action  in- 
dependent of  vice — favorable  on  the  whole  to  virtue — Illusive  nature  of  the 
gloom  which  has  overspread  the  whole  subject,  p.  xxxiii. 

Practical  principles  remain  to  be  established  on  the  basis  of  experience — some 
so  established  here — much  remains  to  be  done — what  kind  of  errors  are 
most  likely  to  impede  the  future  progress  of  the  subject — aim  and  course  of 
false  philosophy — different  and  more  difficult,  but  more  promising,  and  in 
the  result  more  splendid,  course  of  the  true — The  Author's  thanks  to  the 
University  of  Cambridge  and  ihe  Syndics  of  its  Press,  p.  xxxix. 

xliv  CONTENTS. 

BOOK  I.     Rent. 



Ihtroduction.  Limitation  of  the  Sense  in  which  the  word  Wealth  is 
used.  Division  of  the  general  subject  into  Rent,  AVages,  Profits,  and 
the  Sources  of  Taxation 1 

Section  1.  Rents.  Origin  of  Rents — Division  into  Primary  or  Peasant's 
Rents,  and  Secondary,  or  Farmer's  Rents — Their  comparative  extent....     3 

Section  2.     Division  of  Peasant  Rents  into  Labor Metoyer Ryot and 

Cottier  Rents 16 



Section  1.     Their  Origin — Prevalence  from  Russia  to  the  Rhine 17 

Section  2.  Labor  or  Serf  Rents  in  Russia — Their  results— Bondage  of 
the  Peasants — How  compleated — Crown  Peasants — Causes  of  their 
partial  emancipation,  and  change  in  the  form  of  their  Rents — Their  ad. 
vantages — Disadvantages — Temper — Prospects 20 

Section  3.     Labor  Rents  in  Hungary — Former  Condition  of  Peasants 

Actual  Condition  —  Maria  Theresa — Urbarium — Good   effects— Imper- 
fections — Causes  of  these 28 

Section  4.  Labor  Rents  in  Poland — Their  State  in  different  divisions  of 
Poland In  the  kingdom  of  Poland — Stanislaus  Augustus — Consti- 
tution adopted  under  him — Rights  granted  by  it  to  Peasants — Effects  of 
these 33 

Section  6.  Labor  Rents  in  Livonia  and  Esthonia — Peculiarity  of  these— 
Experiment  of  which  they  represent  the  progress — Literary  disquisitions 
on  the  best  mode  of  emancipating  the  Peasantry  encouraged  by  the 
Empress  Catherine — results — Description  of  the  conditions  granted  to 
the  Livonian  Peasantry 36 

Section  6.  Labor  Rents  in  Germany — They  are  going  through  a  process 
of  slow  demolition — exemplified  by  the  parallel  case  of  their  gradual  dis- 
appearance from  England — Amtmen — Bauers — Hanoverian  Leibeigeners 
and  Meyers— actual  condition  of  the  Bauers — their  general  emancipation 
from  personal  bondage 40 

Section  7-  On  some  vestiges  of  Labor  or  Serf  Rents  westward  of  the 
Rhine — in  the  Scottish  Highlands 44 


Sectiok  8.  Summary  of  the  eflFects  of  Serf  Rents — Dependence  of  Wages 
on  Rents — Insufficiency  of  agricultural  labor — Reluctance  and  want  of 
skill  of  Peasants  in  Russia — Prussia — Austria — Tendency  to  corrupt 
habits  of  free  laborers  living  in  the  midst  of  them — anecdote  of  Meck- 
lenburg leibeigeners  and  Prussian  free  laborers — Effect  of  insufficiency 
of  their  labor  on  national  wealth  and  strength — Inefficient  superin- 
tendence of  agricultural  labor — Russian,  Prussian,  Hungarian  and 
German  nobles — causes  of  their  deficiencies  as  conductors  of  cultivation 
— Small  numbers  of  the  independent  classes — Authority  of  landlords 
over  tenants — judicial  when  not  despotic — domainial  tribunals — in 
Hungary — in  Germany — effects  of  these — The  power  and  influence  of 
the  Aristocracy — Good  effects  of  these — Exceptions — Want  of  po- 
pular influence  in  the  political  constitution  of  such  countries — Cir- 
cumstances which  determine  the  amount  of  labor  rents — different 
modes  of  increasing  those  rents — different  effects  of  those  modes — On 
the  changes  in  labor  rents  which  are  desirable — difficulties  which  oppose 
those  changes — Slow  processes  most  sure  and  safe — Prussian  attempts 
at  a  rapid  change — unsatisfactory  results  and  prospects 47 



Section  1.     Metayer  Rents — description  of — where  prevalent — origin  ....     ^3 

Section  2.     Metayers   in  Greece — older  class  of    tenantry — cultivation 

by  rural  proprietors— Transition  to  Mortita  or  Metayers 7^ 

Section  3.  Metayers  among  the  Romans — small  proprietors — progress 
of  cultivation — causes  of  spread  of  tenantry — ultimate  prevalence  of 
coloni  medietarii,  or  Metayers — revival  and  spread  of  Metayer  rents 
among  the  barbarian  occupiers  of  the  empire 83 

Section  4.  Metayer  Rents  in  France — first  effects  of  the  barbarian  occupa- 
tion of  Gaul — introduction  of  Feudal  tenures  and  of  labor  rents — Serfs 
or  Mainmortables  under  Lewis  the  XVIth — Metayers — causes  of  their 
progress  and  final  prevalence — Terms  on  which  they  held — causes  of 
misery — TaiUe — Description  of  their  condition,  and  comments  by 
Turgot — Their  actual  numbers  and  condition  in  France 87 

Section  5.      Metayer  Rents  in  Italy — size  of  farms — condition  of  tenantry 

— similar   rents    prevail    in    the    Valteline — Vaudois — Spain Canary 

islands — and  exist  in  Afghaunisthaun 97 

Section  6.  Summary  of  Metayer  Rents — advantages  of  the  Metayer — dis- 
advantages— Metayer  rents  may  increase  in  two  modes — effects  of  each 
mode  of  increase — probable  effects  on  European  nations  of  the  progress 
of  changes  in  the  Metayer  system 101 

xlvi  CONTENTS, 



Section  1.     Ryot  Rents— description — origin — disastrous  effects  on  the 

political  institutions  of  countries  in  which  they  prevail 109 

Section  2.     Ryot   Rents  in   India — uncertainty  of  the  rent — tyrannical 

collection — effects  on  the  cultivation  of  the  country 113 

Section  3.  Ryot  Rents  in  Persia — Character  of  the  Persian  Government 
— peculiarity  of  the  soil — necessity  of  irrigation — mode  of  effecting  it — 
consequent  necessity  of  fixed  property  in  improvements — State  of  Ryots 
—of  Lords  of  Villages — abuses  of  Government 119 

Section  4.     Ryot  Rents  in  Turkey — Origin — amount — ziameta — timars 

— mortitae — advantages  of  the  Turkish  system — disadvantages 127 

Section  5.  Ryot  Rents  in  China  little  understood — Their  progress 
different  there  and  in  the  rest  of  Asia — Quiet  and  skilful  government 
of  China — Increase  of  population — Revenue — Other  Asiatic  countries 
in  which  it  may  be  presumed  ryot  rents  prevail 132 

Section  6.     Mixture  of  other  rents  with  Ryot — Labor  rents — Metayer 

rents — in  Persia,  India,  Turkey 136 

Section  ?•  Summary  of  Ryot  Rents,  their  direct  effects  not  necessarily 
bad — their  indirect  and  political  effects  disastrous — Connection  of  ryot 
rents  with  wages — Modes  of  increase — different  results  of  each 138 


cottier    rents. 

Cottier  Rents — descriptioE — dependent  on  the  possibility  of  paying  money 
rent — only  to  be  observed  on  a  considerable  scale  in  Ireland Disad- 
vantages when  compared  with  other  classes  of  peasant  rents — Want  of 
external  restraints  on  a  too  rapid  increase  of  numbers — Want  of  assist- 
ance of  custom  and  prescription  in  keeping  rents  moderate — Want  of 
a  common  interest  between  landlord  and  tenant  as  direct  and  obvious 
as  in  other  classes  of  peasant  rents — Advantages — Facilities  of  tenants 
to  change  their  character,  and  assume  the  rank  of  farmers — Connection 
of  cottier  rents  with  wages — Modes  in  which  cottier  rents  may  increase 
— different  results  of  each 143 



Summary  of  Peasant  Rents — Invariable  connexion  between  peasant  rents  and 
wages— Influence  on  agricultural  production — On  the  numbers  of  the 

CONTEXTS.  xlvii 

non-agricultural  classes — On  the  identity  (common  to  all  classes  of 
peasant  rents)  of  the  interests  of  the  landlords  with  those  of  their 
tenantry  and  the  community — On  the  causes  of  the  long  duration  of 
the  systems  of  primary  or  peasant  rents— Division  of  such  rents  accord- 
ing to  their  different  tendencies  to  change,  into  four  portions — Diffi- 
culty in  producing  motion  in  the  last  and  largest  portion — Cause  of 

this actual  penury  of  the  cultivators,  and  reluctance  or  inability  of 

landlords  to  make  a  direct  sacrifice  of  income — Observations  on  cer- 
tain notions  as  to  rent  which  are  inconsistent  with  those  brought  to 
light  by  the  review  of  peasant  rents 156 



Section  1.     Introduction 185 

Origin  of  Farmers  Rents 186 

Severance  of  the  connexion  between  Rent   and  Wages 188 

Section  2.     Three  Different  modes  in  which  farmer's  rents  may  increase. 
On  the  progress  and  effects  of  a  rise  of  rents  from  an  increase  of  produce 

caused  by  the  use  of  more  capital  in  cultivation 189 

Statement  of  the  ordinary  course  of  such  rise — Examination  of  the  law  of 
Messrs.  Ricardo  and  Mill,  that  every  portion  of  additional  produce  must 
be  obtained  by  the  expenditure  of  a  greater  proportion  of  capital — 
Examination  of  the  position  of  Mr.  Ricardo  that  "  if  capital  could  be 
indefinitely  employed  without  a  diminished  return  on  the  old  land, 
there  could  be  no  rise  of  rent" — Examination  of  the  opinion  that  in- 
creased produce  so  obtained  must  lower  rents — Proof  that  increased 
produce  from  the  outlay  of  increased  capital  ordinarily  raises  rent, 
when  it  is  obtained  without  a  diminished  return 190 

Different  effect  of  capital  employed  in  different  shapes 217 

Distinction  between  auxiliary  capital  and  capital  used  in  maintaining  laborers 

Different  progress  of  human  power  indicated  by  the  accumulation  of 

capital  in  one  or  in  the  other  shape — Difference  between  the  annual 
return  necessary  to  make  the  employment  of  equal  quantities  of  each 
kind  of  capital  profitable.— Effects  produced  by  the  employment  of 
increasing  quantities  of  auxiliary  capital  on  rents  and  on  the  relative 
incomes  of  capitalists  and  landlords 217 

Effects  of  the  accumulation  of  auxiliary  capital  in  agriculture  on  the  relative 

numbers  and  influence  of  the  different  classes  of  the  community 227 

The  employment  of  auxiliary  capital  augments  the  relative  numbers  of  the 

non-agricultural  classes 228 

Xlviii  CONTENTS. 

The  increate  of  auxiliary  capital  increases  the  revenue  of  the  intermediate 
classes 231 

Section  3.     On  the  second  source  of  the  increase  of  farmers  rents,  or  on 

THE  ivcRfiASivo  TmciESCY  of  the  capital  employed 236 

The  effects  of  this  source  of  increase  are  less  in  amount  than  the  effects  of 
the  employment  of  additional  capital  on  the  same.  But  those  effects 
are  accompanied  hy  a  power  of  cultivating  poorer  soils  and  a  consequent 
spread  of  tillage,  and  also  by  a  power  gradually  to  accumulate  more 
capital  on  the  old  soils,  and  a  second  rise  of  rents  from  this  source 238 

Section  4.  On  the  third  source  of  the  increase  of  farmers  rents,  namely, 
a  decrease  in  the  share  of  t/ie  producing  classes,  the  produce 
remaining  the  same. 

The  increase  of  p:^uce  rents  from  this  cause  is  measured  by  the  decreasing 

fertility  of  the  soils  governing  price 244 

The  decreasing  fertility  of  the  soil  may  (as  it  affects  wages  and  profits)  be 
balanced  by  the  increased  efficiency  of  manufacturing  labor. 

Should  the  efficiency  of  agriculture  begin  to  decrease,  a  community  of  which 
the  manufacturing  industry  is  improving,  may,  in  spite  of  the  decrease, 
produce  both  more  com  and  more  of  every  other  commoddity  than  it 
did  before  the  decrease  began 248 

Section  5.     On  the  fallaciousness  of  some  supposed  indications  of  the 

decreasing  efficiency  of  agricultural  labor 255 

A  fall  of  profits  is  no  proof  of  tlte  decreasing  efficiency  of  agricultural 

industry 257 

An  increasing  relative  value  of  raw  produce  is  no  proof  of  the  decreasing  effi- 
ciency of  agricultural  industry 264 

An  increasing  money  value  of  raw  produce  compared  with  the  prices  of  other 

countries  is  no  proof  of  the  decreasing  efficiency  of  agricultural  industry  266 

Section  6.  On  some  indications  of  the  real  sources  of  increasing  rents 
which  are  to  be  obtained  in  particular  instances,  by  observing.  First, 
the  variations  which  take  place  in  tfie  comparative  numrers  of 
the  agricultural  and  non-agricultural  classes,  and  Secondly,  the 
alterations  which  shew  themselves  in  the  landlord's  proportion  of  the 
produce 277 

Proof,  from  these  indications,  that  in  the  case  of  England,  the  rise  which 
has  taken  place  in  rents  has  originated  in  better  farming,  and  not  in  the 
cause  assumed  by  Mr.  Ricardo  and  others,  namely,  "  the  employment 
of  an  additional  quantity  of  labor  with  a  proportional  less  return" 282 

Section  7-      The  interests  of  the  landlords  are  not  in  opposition  to  those  of 

the  other  classes. 
The  landlords  may  have  a  temporary  and  limited  interest  in  the  depression 

of  other  classes.     This  circumstance  is  not  peculiar  to  them.     The 

CONTENTS.  \lix 

revenue  of  every  class  may  be  increased  by  an  invasion  of  ihc  revenue 
of  others — but  the  revenue  of  notw  can  thus  increase  securely  and  pro- 
gressively in  the  progress  of  nations.     Proof  as  to  wages — Proof  as  to 
profits — Proof  as  to  rents 286 

Section  8.     Smnmary  of  Farmcr\s  Rents 305 

Position  of  the  Land-owners  in  the  advance  of  Society  to  Fanner's  Rents 306 

Observations  on  some  circjtmstances  in  the  Actual  Position  of  England 308 

Strict  connexion  between  the   interests  of  the  Non -agriculturists  and  the 
Agriculturists — Corn  Laws — Tithes — Poor  Laws— desirable  alterations    il: 

Conclusion:     Peasants  Rents  are  properly  considered  as  Rents 324 

Interests  of  the  Proprietors  always  identical  with  those  of  the  Cultivators....  320 

Permanent  and  progressive  prosperity  of  each  class  of  the  community  de- 
pendent on  the  common  .idvance  of  all 329 

.Appendix.     Proofs  and  Illustrations (1) 


It  has  been  mentioned  to  me,  that  I  have  given  no 
regular  definition  of  the  word  Rent.  The  omission  was 
not  undesigned.  On  a  subject  like  this,  to  attempt  to 
draw  conclusions  from  definitions,  is  almost  a  sure  step 
towards  error.  A  dissertation,  however,  on  the  use  and 
abuse  of  definitions,  would  be  out  of  its  place  here. 
I  have  pointed  out  the  origin  of  payments  made  to  the 
owners  of  the  soil.  I  have  tracked  their  progress.  If 
any  reader,  during  this  enquiry,  is  really  puzzled  to 
know  what  we  are  observing  together,  I  shall  be  sorry  : 
but  I  am  quite  sure  that  I  should  do  him  no  real  ser- 
vice, by  presenting  him  in  the  outset  with  a  definition 
to  reason  from. 

BOOK  I.      CHAP.  I. 

Division  of  Subject. 

The  word  Wealth  presents  itself  to  diflferent   Book  i. 
minds  with  such  variety  of  meaning,  that  it  will  he    ^  ^^' '" 
best  to  begin  by  fixing  on  some  conventional  limit  to  Division  of 
the   sense   in  which   the  term  shall  be  used.     The  ^"^J"*- 
definition  of  Mr.  Malthus   is,    of  the  many  which 
have  been  proposed,  perhaps  the  least  objectionable 
and  the  most  convenient.      Wealth,    according  to 
him,    consists   of  those    material  objects  which   are 
necessary,  useful,  or  agreeable  to  mankind.^     In  this 
restricted  sense  the  word  will  be  used  here.    Instances 
of  occasional  deviation  from  it,  if  any  occur,  shall  be 
marked.     It  will  be  understood,  however,  that  this 
definition  is  proposed  as  useful  in  limiting  our  sub- 
ject, not  as  furnishing  the  basis  of  any  conclusions 
relating   to  it.     If  a  more  comprehensive  interpre- 
tation of  the  term  Wealth  should  be  preferred,  the 

*  Prin.  of  Pol.  Econ.  p.  28.  I  think  this  definition  as  it 
stands,  is  on  the  whole  rather  preferable  to  the  slightly  altered 
version  of  it,  which  Mr.  Malthus  has  since  adopted  in  his  Work 
on  Definitions,  p.  234.  Neither  of  them  perhaps,  are  perfectly 
proof  against  a  pains-taking  objector.  Either,  would  very  well 
answer  our  present  purpose,  of  restricting  the  subject  on  which 
we  are  about  to  enter  to  some  definite  limits. 


2  Distribution  of  Wealth. 

Book  I.    results  of  the  facts  or  reasonings  we  shall  have  to 

*^*P'"    adduce,    will    be    in    no    degree    affected    by    the 

Division  of  change. 

subject.  ^11    wealth,    whatever   be    its    source,    is   made 

available  for  the  purposes  of  man  by  human  labor: 
by  that  even  the  spontaneous  productions  of  the 
earth  must  be  gathered  and  appropriated.  Hence 
the  hands  from  which  all  wealth  is  first  distributed 
must  be  those  of  the  laborer.  But  the  laborer  is 
rarely  in  a  condition  to  retain  the  whole  produce  of 
his  exertions.  In  whatever  state  of  society  he  exists, 
some  tie,  or  some  want,  makes  him  to  a  certain  extent 
dependent  upon  others.  Those  who  constitute  the 
larget  proportion  of  the  laboring  class  throughout 
the  world  find  no  fund  accumulated  by  others,  from 
which  they  may  draw  their  daily  subsistence  :  they 
are  obliged  therefore  to  raise  it  with  their  own  hands 
from  the  soil.  If  that  soil  belongs  to  others,  this 
circumstance  alone  makes  the  peasants  at  once  tri- 
butary to  the  proprietors,  and  a  portion  of  the  produce 
is  distributed  as  Rent.  If  besides  the  soil  other  things 
are  needful  to  facilitate  their  exertions,  to  the  owner 
of  these  things  another  part  of  the  produce  must  be 
resigned,  and  hence  the  origin  of  Profits.  The  share 
of  the  laborer,  the  reward  of  mere  personal  exertion, 
in  whatever  shape,  or  manner,  or  time,  it  may  be 
received,  constitutes  the  Wages  of  labor.  Into  these 
three  portions,  Rent,  Profits,  and  Wages,  the  annual 
produce  of  the  land  and  labor  of  every  country  is 
in  the  first  instance  divided:  all  other  revenues  are 
derived  from  these.  The  whole  subject  of  the  dis- 
tribution of  wealth   then  naturally  separates   itself 


Distribution  of  Wealth.  3 

into  three  divisions,  which  may  conveniently  be  made  book  i. 
the  subject  of  three  books,  devoted  to  the  examination  ^^''' 
of  those  circumstances  which  in  different  stages  of  Division  of 
society  determine  the  amount,  first  of  Rent,  then 
of  Wages,  thirdly  of  Profits.  In  a  fourth  book, 
if  our  plan  should  be  completed,  we  shall  attempt 
to  trace  the  revenue  which  the  state  at  successive 
periods  usually  derives  from  each  of  these. 

The  present   volume   will  contain  the   book  on 


On  the  Origin  of  Rents :  on  their  Division  into  Primary 
and  Secondary,  or  Peasant  and  Farmer'^s  Rents. 

When  mankind  have  become  sufficiently  nume-  Book  i. 
vous   to   be  driven  from  the  pastoral  state  to  agri-    ?^*^'/' 

culture   for   subsistence,  and   before  sufficient  funds    

have  accumulated  in  the  possession  of  others  to  supply  2''?'"*°'l 
the  body  of  the  people  with  their  daily  bread,  they  R«n's. 
must  extract  it  with  their  own  hands  from  the  soil, 
or  they  must  starve.  While  thus  circumstanced 
they  may,  or  may  not,  be  themselves  the  owners  of 
the  implements,  seed,  &c.  by  the  assistance  of  which 
their  manual  labor  applied  to  the  soil  produces  them 
a  continuous  maintenance ;  a  stock  which  if  used  for 
any  other  purpose  must  soon  be  exhausted:  such  a 
stock,  if  they  possess  it,   is  in  their  peculiar  circum- 


4  Rent. 

Book  I.  stances  entirely  deprived  of  its  mobility;  it  is  con- 

^^'l'  vertible  to  no  other  purpose,  and  is  confined  to  the 

task  of  assisting  cultivation,  by  the  same  necessity 

S"?^  '^^  which  compels  its  owners  to  extract  their  food  from 

jJivision  01  JT 

^°t»-  the  earth :  and  the  returns  to  stock  so  situated,  like 
the  returns  to  the  labors  of  its  owners  (or  their  wages), 
must  be  governed  by  the  terms  on  which  land  can  be 
obtained.  Should  the  surface  of  the  country  which 
such  a  people  inhabit  be  appropriated,  the  only  chance 
which  the  cultivator  has  of  being  allowed  to  occupy 
that  portion  of  it,  from  which  he  is  to  draw  his  sub- 
sistence, rests  upon  his  being  able  to  pay  some  tribute 
to  the  owner.  The  power  of  the  earth  to  yield, 
even  to  the  rudest  labors  of  mankind,  more  than 
is  necessary  for  the  subsistence  of  the  cultivator 
himself,  enables  him  to  pay  such  a  tribute:  hence 
the  origin  of  rent.  A  very  large  proportion  of 
the  inhabitants  of  the  whole  earth  are  precisely 
in  the  circumstances  we  have  been  describing; 
sufficiently  numerous  to  have  resorted  to  agricul- 
ture; too  rude  to  possess  any  accumulated  fund 
in  the  shape  of  capital,  from  which  the  wages  of 
the  laboring  cultivators  can  be  advanced.  These 
cultivators  in  such  a  state  of  society  comprise  always, 
from  causes  we  shall  hereafter  arrive  in  sight  of, 
an  overwhelming  majority  of  the  nation.  As  the 
land  is  then  the  direct  source  of  the  subsistence 
of  the  population,  so  the  nature  of  the  property 
established  in  the  land,  and  the  forms  and  terms 
of  tenancy  to  which  that  property  gives  birth, 
furnish  to  the  people  the  most  influential  elements 
of  their  national  character.     We   may  be  prepared 

Rent.  5 

therefore  to  see  without  surprise,  the  different  sys-   Book  i. 
tems  of  rents  which  in  this  state  of  things  have  arisen    ^^l'!' 

out  of  the  peculiar  circumstances  of  different  people,    

forming  the  main  ties  which  hold  society  together,  2ildsU)n"of 
determining  the  nature  of  the  connection  between  i^"*s- 
the  governing  part  of  the  community  and  the  go- 
verned, and  stamping   on   a  very  large   portion   of 
the  population  of  the  whole  globe  their  most  striking 
features,  social,  political,  and  moral. 

If  indeed  it  were  true,  as  some  have  fancied, 
that  lands  were  always  first  appropriated  by  those 
who  are  willing  to  bestow  pains  on  their  cultiva- 
tion ;  if  in  the  history  of  mankind  it  were  an 
ordinary  fact,  that  the  uncultivated  lands  of  a 
country  were  open  to  the  industry  or  necessities  of 
all  its  population;  then  some  time  would  elapse  in 
the  progress  of  agricultural  nations  before  rents 
made  their  appearance  at  all;  and  when  they  did 
appear,  still,  while  any  portion  of  the  country  re- 
mained unoccupied,  the  rents  paid  on  the  lands 
already  cultivated  would  only  be  in  exact  proportion 
to  their  superiority,  from  position  or  goodness,  over 
the  vacant  spots- 

Such  a  state  of  things  might  occur;  it  is  an 
abstract  possibility:  but  the  past  history  and  pre- 
sent state  of  the  world  yield  abundant  testimony, 
that  it  neither  is,  nor  ever  has  been,  a  practical 
truth,  and  that  the  assumption  of  it  as  the  basis 
of  systems  of  political  philosophy,  is  a  mere  fal- 

When  men  begin  to  unite  in  the  form  of  an 
agricultural   community,   the   political   notion   they 

C  Rent. 

Book  I.   seem  constantly  to  adopt  first,  is  that  of  an  exclu- 
secT/    ^^^^  I'ight,  existing  somewhere,   to   the   soil  of  the 

country   they    inhabit.     Their    circumstances,   their 

2[jfJSI,^o^f  prejudices,  their  ideas  of  justice  or  of  expediency, 
Rents.        lead  them,  almost   universally,   to    vest   that   right 
in  their  general  government,  and  in  persons  deriv- 
ing their  rights  from  it. 

The  rudest  people  among  whom  this  can  at  pre- 
sent be  observed  are  perhaps  some  of  the  Islanders 
of  the  South  Seas.  The  soil  of  the  Society  Islands 
is  very  imperfectly  occupied;  the  whole  belongs  to 
the  sovereign;  he  portions  it  among  the  nobles, 
and  makes  and  resumes  grants  at  his  pleasure. 
The  body  of  the  people,  who  live  on  certain  edible 
roots  peculiar  to  the  country,  which  they  cultivate 
with  considerable  care,  receive  from  the  nobles,  in 
their  turn,  permission  to  occupy  smaller  portions. 
They  are  thus  dependent  on  the  chiefs  for  the 
means  of  existence,  and  they  pay  a  tribute,  a  rent, 
in  the  shape  of  labor  and  services  performed  on 
other  lands'. 

On  the  continent  of  America,  the  institutions 
of  those  people,  who  before  its  discovery  had  resorted 
to  agriculture  for  subsistence,  indicate  also  an  early 
and  complete  appropriation  of  the  soil  by  the  state. 
In  Mexico  there  were  crown  lands  cultivated  by 
the  services  of  those  classes  who  were  too  poor  to 
contribute  to  the  revenue  of  the  state  in  any  other 
manner.  There  existed  too  a  body  of  about  3000 
nobles,  possessed  of  distinct  hereditary  property  in 

'  Appendix. 

Rent.  7 

land.     "  The  tenure  by  which  the  great  body  of  the    ^^  }' 
"  people  held  their  property  was  very  different.     In    Sect,  i, 
"every  district  a  certain   quantity  of  land  was  mea- Q"~r      , 
"  sured  out  in  proportion  to  the  number  of  families.  Division  cf 


"  This  was  cultivated  by  the  joint  labor  of  the  whole: 
"  its  produce  was  deposited  in  a  common  storehouse, 
"  and  divided  among  them  according  to  their  respec- 
"tive  exigencies^"  While  in  Peru  "all  the  lands 
"  capable  of  cultivation  were  divided  into  three 
"shares.  One  was  consecrated  to  the  Sun,  and 
"the  produce  of  it  was  applied  to  the  erection  of 
"  temples,  and  furnishing  what  was  requisite  towards 
"  celebrating  the  public  rites  of  religion.  The  second 
"  belonged  to  the  Inca,  and  was  set  apart  as  the  pro- 
"  vision  made  by  the  community  for  the  support  of 
"government.  The  third  and  largest  share  was 
"reserved  for  the  maintenance  of  the  people  among 
"  whom  it  was  parcelled  out.  Neither  individuals, 
"  however,  nor  communities  had  a  right  of  exclusive 
"property  in  the  portion  set  apart  for  their  use. 
"They  possessed  it  only  for  a  year,  at  the  expira- 
"  tion  of  which,  a  new  division  was  made  in  propor- 
"  tion  to  the  rank,  the  number,  and  the  exigencies 
"of  each  family^." 

Throughout  Asia,  the  sovereigns  have  ever 
been  in  the  possession  of  an  exclusive  title  to  the 
soil  of  their  dominions,  and  they  have  preserved 
that  title  in  a  state  of  singular  and  inauspicious 
integrity,  undivided,  as  well  as  unimpaired.  The 
people    are   there    universally    the    tenants    of    the 

'   Robertson's  America^   Book  vii.  ^  Ibid. 

8  Rent, 

Book  I.    sovereign,  who  is  the  sole  proprietor ;  usurpations  of 
Sect.  1.    his  officers  alone  occasionally  break  the  links  of  the 

chain   of  dependence   for  a  time.      It  is   this  uni- 

SSSorof  versal  dependence  on  the  throne  for  the  means  of 

^°''*        supporting    life,    which    is    the    real    foundation    of 

the  unbroken    despotism   of  the  Eastern   world,  as 

it  is,  of  the  revenue  of  the  sovereigns,  and  of  the 

form  which  society  assumes  beneath  their  feet. 

In  modern  Europe  the  same  rights  once  pre- 
vailed, but  here  they  were  soon  moderated,  and 
finally  disappeared.  The  subordinate  chiefs,  who 
followed  in  crowds  the  leaders  of  the  barbarian 
irruptions,  were  little  accustomed  to  tolerate  con- 
stant dependence  and  regular  government,  and  utterly 
unfit  to  become  its  support  and  agents.  Yet  even 
by  them,  the  abstract  right  of  the  sovereign  to  the 
soil  was  very  generally  recognized.  Traces  of  it  are 
still  preserved  in  the  language  of  our  laws  ;  the  high- 
est title  a  subject  can  claim  is  that  of  tenant  of 
the  fee,  and  the  terms  of  this  tenancy  made  ori- 
ginally the  only  difference  in  the  extent  of  interests 
in  estates. 

The  steps  by  which  beneficiaries  became  the  real 
proprietors  are  familiar  .to  almost  all  classes  of  readers  ; 
it  is  enough  for  our  present  purpose  to  see  that  in 
Europe,  as  in  Asia  and  South  America,  the  soil 
was  practically  appropriated  by  the  sovereign  or 
a  limited  number  of  individuals,  at  a  time  when 
the  bulk  of  the  people  were  wholly  dependent  on 
the  occupation  of  portions  of  it  for  their  subsistence, 
and  when  they  became  therefore,  inevitably,  tributary 
to  its  owners. 

Rent.  9 

The  United   States  of  North  America,  though    b^o^^  i- 
often  referred  to  in  support  of  different  views,  afford     sect.  i. 

another  remarkable  instance  of  the  power  vested  in  — — 
the  hands  of  the  owners  of  the  soil,  when  its  occu-  Diviaion"of 
pation  offers  the  only  means  of  subsistence  to  the  ^°"' 
people.  The  territories  of  the  Union  still  unoc- 
cupied, from  the  Canadian  border  to  the  shores  of 
the  Floridas,  from  the  Atlantic  to  the  Pacific, 
are  admitted,  in  law  and  practice,  to  be  the  pro- 
perty of  the  general  government.  They  can  be 
occupied  only  with  its  consent,  in  spots  fixed  on 
and  allotted  by  its  servants,  and  on  the  condition 
of  a  previous  money  payment.  That  government 
does  not,  it  is  true,  convert  the  Successive  shoals 
of  fresh  applicants  into  tenants,  because  its  policy 
rejects  such  a  measure.  Its  legislators  inherited 
from  the  other  hemisphere  at  the  outset  of  their 
career  the  advantages  of  an  experience  accumulated 
during  centuries  of  progressive  civilization  :  they  saw, 
that  the  power  and  resources  of  their  young  govern- 
ment were  likely  to  be  increased  more  effectually 
by  the  rapid  formation  of  a  race  of  proprietors,  than 
by  the  creation  of  a  class  of  state  tenantry.  It  has 
been  suggested,  that  they  may  have  acted  unwisely 
in  overlooking  such  a  mode  of  creating  a  permanent 
public  revenue.  Had  they  perversely-  entertained 
the  will  to  do  so,  unquestionably  they  had  the  power. 
Their  rapidly  increasing  numbers  could  have  been 
sustained  only  by  the  spread  of  cultivation.  As  fresh 
settlements  became  necessary  to  the  maintenance  of 
the  people,  the  government  might  have  made  its 
own    terms    when    granting    the    space   from    which 

10  Rent. 

Book  I.    alone  the  population  could  obtain  subsistence ;  and 
SecTi!    ^^^s  without  parting  with  the  property  of  the  soil. 

Had  this  been  done,  the  career  of  the  nation,  essen- 

DSon"of  tially  different  from  what  it  has  been,  would  more 
Rents,  closely  have  resembled  that  of  the  people  of  the 
old  world. 

In  the  English  colonies  of  Australia,  an  unsettled 
territory,  which  will  bear  comparison  with  the  wastes 
of  North  America  in  extent,  is  the  acknowledged 
property  of  the  crown.  A  system  of  disposing  of 
the  public  lands  has  lately  been  adopted,  which  is 
a  mean  between  an  absolute  sale  and  the  creation 
of  a  permanent  tenantry  \  The  person  receiving 
a  grant  is  subject  to  a  moderate  rent,  which  he  may 
commute  for  the  payment  of  a  specific  sum". 

Throughout  central  Africa  the  consent  of  the 
king  or  chief  must  be  obtained,  before  any  spot  of 
ground  can  be  cultivated^.  AVe  know  but  little 
of  the  subsequent  rights  of  the  cultivator  or  of  his 
connection  with  the  sovereign ;  but  the  necessity 
of  applying  for  permission  implies  a  power  to  with- 
hold it,  or  to  grant  it  conditionally. 

The  past  history  and  present  state  therefore  of 
the  old  and  new  world,  yield  abundant  proof  of 
the  visionary  nature  of  those  notions  as  to  the  origin 
of  rent,  which  rest  upon  an  assumption,  that  it  is 

'   Emigration  Report,    p.  397-     Appendix  II. 

2  In  proposing  present  terms  to  persons  inclined  to  settle  at 
the  Swan  River,  the  Colonial  Office  formally  declares  an  inten- 
tion of  granting  lands  after  1830,  on  snch  conditions  only,  as 
may  then  seem  adviscable  to  Government. 

^  Park's  Travels  in  Africa,  p.  2()0. 

Rent.  11 

never  the  immediate  result  of  cultivation ;  and  that   Book  i. 
while  any  land  remains  unoccupied,  no  rent  will  be     ^^'\[ 

paid  for  the  cultivated  part,  except  such  as  is  warranted    

by  its  superiority  over  that  part  which  is  supposed  to  o^JSLn^of 
be  always  open  to  the  industry  of  the  community.        ^"'^• 

We  come  back  then  to  the  proposition,  that, 
in  the  actual  progress  of  human  society,  rent  has 
usually  originated  in  the  appropriation  of  the  soil, 
at  a  time  when  the  bulk  of  the  people  must  cul- 
tivate it  on  such  terms  as  they  can  obtain,  or  starve; 
and  when  their  scanty  capital  of  implements,  seed,  &c. 
being  utterly  insufficient  to  secure  their  maintenance 
in  any  other  occupation  than  that  of  agriculture, 
is  chained  with  themselves  ta  the  land  by  an  over- 
powering necessity.  The  necessity  then,  which  com- 
pels them  to  pay  a  rent,  it  need  hardly  be  observed, 
is  wholly  independent  of  any  difference  in  the  quality 
of  the  ground  they  occupy,  and  would  not  be  removed 
were  the  soils  all  equalized. 

The  rents  thus  paid  by  the  laborer,  who  extracts 
his  own  wages  from  the  earth,  may  be  called  peasant 
rents,  using  the  term  peasant  to  indicate  an  occupier 
of  the  ground  who  depends  on  his  own  labor  for  its 
cultivation ;  or  they  may  be  called  primary  rents, 
because,  in  the  order  of  their  appearance  in  the 
progress  of  nations  towards  civilization,  they  inva- 
riably precede  that  other  class  of  rents  to  which 
we  have  now  to  advert. 

On  the  Origin  of  Secondary  or  Farmer's  Rents. 

Much  time  seldom  elapses,  after  the  formation 
of  an  agricultural  community,  before  some  imperfect 

12  Rent. 

Book  I.   separation   takes  place  between   the  departments  of 
^I'^'l'    labor.     The   body   of  artizans    and   mechanics   bear 

at  first  a  very  small  proportion  to  the  whole  num- 

Origin  and  j^^^.g  ^f  ^^i^  peoplc '.  somc  of  thcsc  soon  become  able 

Division  of  i       •»• 

Rents.  to  storc  up  such  a  quantity  of  food,  implements,  and 
materials,  as  enable  them  to  feed  and  employ  others, 
to  take  the  results  of  their  labour,  and  to  exchange 
them  again  for  more  food,  and  all  that  is  necessary 
to  continue  the  process.  A  class  of  capitalists  is 
thus  formed,  distinct  from  that  of  laborers  and  land- 
lords. This  class  sometimes  (but,  taking  the  earth 
throughout,  very  rarely)  makes  its  appearance  on 
the  land,  and  takes  charge  of  its  cultivation.  The 
agricultural  laborer  no  longer  depends  for  subsist- 
ence upon  the  crops  he  raises  from  the  soil ;  and 
the  landlord,  instead  of  receiving  his  share  directly 
from  the  hands  of  the  laborer,  receives  it  indirectly 
through  those  of  the  new  employer. 

Since  these  rents  invariably  succeed  in  the  order 
of  civilization  the  class  already  pointed  out,  they 
may  be  called  secondary  rents ;  or,  because  the 
capitalist,  who  becomes  responsible  for  the  rent  of 
land  which  he  cultivates  by  the  labor  of  others, 
is  usually  called  a  farmer,  these  rents  may  conve- 
niently be  called  farmer's  rents,  and  so  distinguished 
from  peasant  rents. 

There  are  cases,  no  doubt,  in  which  it  is  diffi- 
cult to  determine  to  which  of  these  two  classes,  the 
peasant  or  farmer's  rents,  the  rents  paid  by  particular 
individuals  belong.  But  this  is  a  circumstance  which 
need  embarrass  the  enquiries  of  none  but  those  who 
delight  in  surrounding   a  subject  with   refinements 

Rent.  13 

and   difficulties   of  their   own    creation.     We  shall    Book  i. 
find  the  two  classes  over  vast  regions  of  the  globe     sea.  i! 

distinctly  and  broadly  separated  in  their  form,  their    

effects,  and   the  causes  of  their  variations:   and   it  Dmslon'cff 
would  be  very  useless  trifling,  to  linger  and  puzzle  ^'^"'^* 
over  those  very  limited  spots  alone,  where  they  are 
in  a  state  of  mixture  and  confusion. 

The  circumstances  which  determine  the  amount 
of  peasant  rents  are  much  less  complex  than  those 
which  determine  the  amount  of  farmer's  rents.  In 
the  case  of  these  last,  the  amount  of  wages  is  first 
determined  by  causes  foreign  to  the  contract  between 
the  proprietor  and  the  tenant,  and  then  the  amount 
of  rent  is  strictly  limited  by  the  amount  of  the 
profits  on  the  capital  used  ;  which  capital,  if  those 
profits  are  not  realized,  may  be  withdrawn  to  another 
employment.  The  causes  which  determine  the  or- 
dinary rate  of  those  profits  are  also  independent 
of  the  contract  between  the  landlord  and  tenant, 
and  form  a  distinct  subject  of  enquiry.  In  the 
case  of  the  first  class,  or  peasant  rents,  the 
amount  both  of  wages  and  rents  is  determined 
solely  by  the  bargain  made  between  the  proprietors 
and  a  set  of  laborers,  whose  necessities  chain  them 
to  the  soil  with  the  small  capital  they  use  to  aid 
their  labour  and  procure  food ;  and  the  causes  which 
govern  the  terms  of  that  bargain  are  comparatively 

The  class  of  secondary  or  farmer's  rents  is  that 
with  which  we  are  the  most  familiar  in  England,  or 
rather  that  with  which  we  are  alone  familiar ;  and  this 
familiarity  has  caused  peasant  rents  in  their  numerous 

14  Rent. 

Book  I.    varieties  not   only  to  be  neglected   in    our  investi- 
Secf/     gations,  but,  in  truth,  to  be  overlooked  altogether. 

And  yet,    as  has  been    before   suggested,    compared 

Dmsronof  ^^^^  thcsc,  the  mass  of  farmer's  rents  to  be  found 
Rents.  on  the  globe  is  very  small.  In  England  and  in  most 
parts  of  the  Netherlands  secondary  rents  exclusively 
prevail.  In  the  Highlands  of  Scotland,  they  are  only 
at  this  moment  displacing  the  last  remains  of  the 
more  primitive  form :  in  France,  before  the  revo- 
lution, they  were  found  on  about  one-seventh  part 
of  ^he  land :  in  the  other  countries  of  Europe, 
they  are  muqh  more  rare,  throughout  Asia  hardly 
known.  We  shall  be  making  on  the  whole  an 
extravagant  allowance,  if  we  suppose  them  to  occupy 
one-hundredth  part  of  the  cultivated  surface  of  the 
habitable  globe. 

If  we  consider  principally  the  numbers  of  the 
human  race  whose  fate  they  influence,  or  the 
extent  of  the  regions  of  which  the  social  condition 
receives  its  impress  from  them,  then  peasant  rents 
under  their  various  forms  will  be  the  most  interest- 
ing and  important.  If  our  taste  leads  us  to  under- 
take the  discussion  of  these  subjects  as  a  scientific 
problem,  the  main  interest  of  which  consists  in  the 
exercise  it  affords  to  the  powers  of  analysis  and 
combination,  perhaps  the  second  class  (or  farmer's 
rents)  may  not  be  undeserving  of  the  exclusive 
attention  it  has  received. 


SECTION    11. 

On  Peasant  Rents :  oji  their  Separation  into  Labor, 
Metayer,  Ryot,  and  Cottier  Rents. 

While  the  laborer  is  confined  to  the  culture    ^^ok  i. 
of  the  soil  on  his  own  account,  because  it  is  in  that    sect.  2. 

manner  alone  that  he  can  obtain  access  to  the  wages    

on  which  he  is  to  subsist,  the  form  and  amount  of  Rems"divi. 

the  Rents  he  pays  are  determined  by  a  direct  contract 
between  himself  and  the  proprietor.  The  provisions 
of  these  contracts  are  influenced  sometimes  by  the 
laws,  and  almost  always  by  the  long  established 
usages,  of  the  countries  in  which  they  are  made. 
The  main  object  in  all  is,  to  secure  a  revenue  to  the 
proprietors  with  the  least  practicable  amount  of 
trouble  or  risk  on  their  part. 

Though  governed  in  common  by  some  important 
principles,  the  variety  in  the  minuter  details  of  this 
class  of  Rents  is  of  course  almost  infinite.  But 
men  will  be  driven  in  similar  situations  to  very 
similar  expedients,  and  the  general  mass  of  peasant 
rents  may  be  separated  into  four  great  divisions, 
comprising  1st,  Labor  Rents,  Sidly,  Metayer  Rents, 
3dly,  Ryot  Rents  (borrowing  the  last  term  from  the 
country  in  which  we  are  most  familiar  with  them, 

These  three  will  be  found  occupying  in  con- 
tiguous masses  the  breadth  of  the  old  world,  from 
the  Canary  Islands  to  the  shores  of  China  and  the 
Pacific,  and  deciding,  each  in  its  own  sphere,  not 
merely  the  economical  relations  of  the  landlords  and 


16  Rent. 

Book  1.    teiiaiits,  but  the  political  and  social  condition  of  the 
Chap.  i.    lYiass-  of  the  people. 

Sect.  2. 

'  To  these  must  be  added  a  fourth  division,  that 

Peasant  of  Cottici  Rcuts,  or  Reuts  paid  by  a  laborer  ex- 
sion.  '  tracting  his  own  wages  from  the  land,  but  paying 
his  rent  in  money,  as  in  Ireland  and  part  of  Scot- 
land. This  class  is  small,  but  peculiarly  interest- 
ing to  Englishmen,  from  the  fact  of  its  prevalence 
in  the  sister  island,  and  from  the  influence  it  has 
exercised,  and  seems  likely  for  some  time  yet  to 
exercise,  over  the  progress  and  circumstances  of  the 
Irish  people. 

CHAP.  II.     SECT.  I. 

Labor  Rents,  or  Serf  Rents. 

The  landed  proprietors  of  rude  nations  usually   ^^°^  '• 
dislike,  and  are  unfit  for,  the  task  of  superintending    sect,  i! 

labor,  and  if  they  can  rely,  through  the  receipt  of    

produce  rents,  on  a  supply  of  necessaries  suited  to  serf°Rents. 
their  purposes,  they  uniformly  throw  upon  the  pea- 
sant the  whole  business  of  cultivation.  But  their 
being  able  to  do  this  in  security  supposes  in  the 
tenants  themselves,  some  skill,  and  habits  of  volun- 
tary and  regular  labor:  they  must  be  trust-worthy 
too,  to  a  certain  extent.  There  is,  however,  a  point 
in  the  progress  of  civilization,  below  which  the  body 
of  the  people  do  not  possess  these  qualifications: 
when,  though  driven  to  agriculture  by  their  num- 
bers, they  still  possess  many  of  the  qualities  of  the 
savage ;  and  are  not  yet  ripe  for  the  regular  pay- 
ment of  produce  or  money  rents ;  because  their  igno- 
rance, their  impatience  of  toil,  and  their  impro- 
vidence, would  expose  the  proprietor  to  considerable 
danger  of  starvation,  if  he  depended  on  their  punc- 
tuality for  the  support  of  himself,  and  his  household. 
However  averse  to  the  employment,  the  proprie- 
tors may  be,  they  must  in  this  stage  of  society,  take 


18  Rent. 

Book  I.    some  share  in  the  burthen  of  conducting  cultivation. 

Chap.  ii.   Xhey  may  contrive,  however,  to  get  rid  of  the  task 

'        of  raising  food  for  the  laborers,  who  are  the  instru- 

Labor  or     meuts  of  that  cultivation.    They  usually  set  aside 

for   their   use   a  portion   of   the   estate,    and   leave 

them  to  extract   their  own   subsistence  from  it,  at 

their  own  risk.     They  exact  as  a  rent  for  the  land 

thus  abandoned,  a  certain  quantity  of  labor,  to  be 

used   upon    the    remaining    portion   of   the    estate, 

which  is  retained   in   the  hands  of  the  proprietor. 

Such   is   the   expedient   which    seems   generally   to 

have   suggested    itself  to   the   owners   of   the   soil, 

while  the  laborers  have  been   in  this  state  of  half 

civilization,  and  while  no  capitalists  yet  existed. 

In  the  Society  Islands,  the  chiefs  allot  to  their 
tenants  about  sixty  acres  of  land  each.  The  rent 
paid  for  these  consists  of  work  done  for  a  certain 
number  of  days  at  the  call  of  the  chief  on  his  own 
demesne  farm\  They  are  perhaps  the  rudest  people 
among  whom  this  mode  of  occupying  and  culti- 
vating the  soil  can  be  observed ;  and  it  is  instructive 
to  remark  among  these  Islanders  of  the  Antipodes, 
the  necessities  of  their  position  giving  birth  to  a 
system,  which  was  once  nearly  universal  in  Europe, 
and  which  still  prevails  over  the  larger  portion  of 

Arrangements  somewhat  similar  to  these  exist 
in  some  of  our  West  Indian  Islands,  between  the 
negroes  and  the  owners  of  the  estates  to  which  they 

'  Appendix  III. 

Rent.  19 

But  the  people  by  whom  labor  rents  were  esta-    Book  i. 
Wished  on  the  widest  scale,  and  were  communicated    ^g^^^f  "' 

to    the    vast   countries    in    which    they    did,  or    do,     

principally  prevail,  were  the  nations  of  Eastern  Eu-  serf°Rents 
rope,  the  inhabitants  of  the  deserts  of  Germany, 
and  the  wastes  beyond  the  Vistula.  Some  of  the 
tribes,  who  invaded  the  lower  empire,  had  begun 
to  resort  partially  to  agriculture  for  subsistence 
before  the  period  of  their  irruption,  and  it  is  pro- 
bable that  this  system  was  even  then  not  unknown 
to  them ;  but  however  this  may  have  been,  they 
certainly  established  it  most  extensively  through- 
out their  conquests  in  Western  Europe ;  and  when 
their  own  fastnesses,  the  wastes  from  which  they  had 
migrated,  became  more  regularly  peopled  and  set- 
tled, this  was  the  mode  of  cultivating  the  land, 
which  universally  prevailed  there.  It  prevails  there 
still.  In  their  conquests  westward  of  the  RhinC;, 
it  took  for  a  time  strong  hold  of  the  habits  of 
the  people  to  whom  they  introduced  it,  has  left 
deep  traces  in  their  laws,  and  yet  lingers  in  par- 
ticular spots ;  but  from  this  portion  of  Europe,  the 
peculiar  circumstances  of  some  nations,  and  the  ad- 
vance of  civilization  in  all,  have  repelled  the  system, 
which  has  given  place  to  other  forms  of  the  relation 
between  proprietors  and  tenants.  In  the  countries 
eastward  of  the  Rhine  it  is  still  found  paramount; 
not  wholly  unbroken,  and  shewing  every  where  symp- 
toms of  gradual  or  approaching  change,  but  fashion- 
ing still  the  frame  of  society,  and  exercising  a  pre- 
dominant influence  over  the  industry  and  fortunes 
of  all  ranks  of  people. 

13  2 

Labor  or 
Serf  Rent*. 

20  Rent. 

Book  I.  Thesc  labor  rents  may,  with  some  little   exten- 

gg^^j"'    sion    of  the    ordinary   use  of  the  term   serf,  be  all 
called  serf  rents. 

As  labor  or  serf  rents  have  gradually  receded 
from  the  West,  so  it  is  on  the  Vestern  extremity 
of  the  countries  in  which  they  still  prevail,  that 
their  decomposition  is  the  most  advanced.  To 
observe  them,  therefore,  in  their  complete  state, 
we  must  go  at  once  to  the  east  of  Europe,  and 
begin  with  Russia,  and  may  trace  them  thence, 
gradually  decaying  in  form  and  spirit  through  Hun- 
gary, Livonia,  Poland,  Prussia,  and  Germany,  to 
the  Rhine,  on  the  borders  of  which  they  melt  away 
into  different  systems,  and  are  no  longer  to  be  re- 


On  Labor  or  Serf  Rents  in  Russia. 

Book  1.  In  Russia  the  peasants,  who  are  settled  on  the 

^*P- "•    soil,  receive  from  the  proprietor  a  quantity  of  land, 

great  or  small,  as  his  discretion  or  convenience  dic- 

^'"".  tate,  from  which  they  extract  their  wages.  They 
Russia.  are  bound  to  work  on  the  demesnes  of  the  land- 
owner three  days  in  the  week.  The  obligation  would 
be  light,  were  it  not  for  the  results  it  has  led  to. 
In  Russia  this  mode  of  occupying  the  soil  has 
established  the  complete  personal  bondage  of  the 
peasant :  he   has    become,  with    all    his    family    and 

Rent  21 

descendants,   the   slave  of  the  lord.     Such   too  has    book  i 
been   the   result   of    similar   relations   between    the    sect.  2. 

proprietor  and  his  tenants,  wherever  they  have  pre-    

vailed  among  semi-barbarous  people  and   feeble  ge-  RenL'in 
neral  governments'      From  the  countries  westward  J*"S"*- 
of  Russia  the  same  state  of  Jbondage,  once  common, 
is   disappearing  by  degrees.     In    Russia,    as  in   its 
last  strong  hold,  it  still  subsists  entire. 

It  is  not  difficult  to  trace  the  steps  by  which 
labor  rents  prepared  so  generally  the  servile  con- 
dition of  the  peasants,  and  covered  Europe  during 
the  middle  ages  with  a  race  of  predial  bonds-men. 
A  rude  people  dependent  upon  their  own  labor  or 
their  allotment  for  their  support,  were  often  ex- 
posed, from  the  failure  of  the  crops  or  the  ravages 
of  war,  to  utter  destitution.  The  lord  was  usually 
able,  out  of  his  store-houses,  to  affiard  them  some 
relief,  which  they  had  no  means  of  repaying  but 
by  additional  labor.  From  this  and  other  causes, 
the  serf  did,  and  does,  perpetually  owe  to  his  lord 
nearly  the  whole  of  his  time".     Besides  this,  they 

*  Sweden  and  Norway  must  be  excepted.  No  information, 
written  or  verbal,  which  I  have  been  able  to  collect,  has  made 
me  feel  satisfied  that  I  understand  the  real  history  of  the  changes 
in  the  tenure,  or  in  the  mode  of  occupying  the  soil,  which  have 
taken  place  in  those  countries.  I  can  only  suspect  that  the  pro- 
gress of  Sweden  in  these  respects  has  resembled,  in  some  mea- 
sure, that  of  the  German  nations:  while  that  of  Norway  has 
been  distinct  and  very  peculiar.  Labor  rents,  however,  under 
various  modificarions  have  been,  and  are  now,  known  in  both 

2  See  Bright's  description  of  what  takes  place  in  Hungary 
even  now,  although  the   Austrian  government  has  interposed 


22  Rent. 

Book  I.    yj^^Q  mainly  dependent  on  him  for  protection  from 

Chap.   ii.  to  11  -n  1  . 

Sect.  2.     strangers    and    Irom    each    other.       Jbrom    his    do- 

mestic   tribunal,    he    settled    their    differences    and 

Rents  in  punishcd  their  faults  with  an  authority  which  the 
"ssia.  general  government  was  in  no  condition  to  super- 
sede, and  which  became  at  last  sanctioned  by  usage 
and  equivalent  to  law.  The  patriarchal  authority  of 
the  Highland  chiefs  had  no  other  source.  In  them 
it  was  at  once  dignified  and  moderated  by  supposed 
ties  of  blood.  Elsewhere  it  received  no  such  mitiga- 
tion. Their  time  and  their  persons  being  thus  aban- 
doned to  the  will  of  their  superiors,  the  tenantry 
had  no  means  of  resisting  further  encroachments. 
One  of  the  most  general  seems  to  have  been,  the 
establishment  of  a  right  by  which  the  landlord, 
providing  the  serf  with  subsistence,  might  withdraw 
him  altogether  from  the  soil  on  which  he  had 
placed  him,  to  employ  him  elsewhere  at  pleasure. 
Then  followed  an  understanding  that  the  flight  of 
a  serf  from  the  estate  of  his  landlord,  employer,  and 
judge,  was  an  offence  and  an  injury.  This  once  sanc- 
tioned by  law  and  usage,  the  chains  of  the  serf  were 
rivetted,  and  he  became  a  slave,  the  property  of  a 
master.  In  Russia  he  is  so  still :  but  successive 
modifications  have  every  where  else  re-endowed  hira 
with  at  least  some  of  the  privileges  of  a  freeman. 

The  descent  of  the  peasants  towards  actual  ser- 
vitude   did    not    perhaps,   in   every   case,   follow   the 

to  jjiotect,  to   ;•.   certain   extent,  the    right   oi    the   peasantry. — 
Bright's  Hungary,  p.  111.     Appendix  IV 

Rent.  23 

precise  track  here  marked  out.      The  nations  with   Book  i. 
whom  labor  rents  originated  in  Europe  were  familiar   ^g^^^^' g* 

with  domestic  slavery  before  they  resorted  to  agricul-    

ture  for  subsistence,  and  some  of  their  first  tenants  i*^?' . 

I  K€nts  m 

were  doubtless  already  slaves.  But  when  we  observe,  i^"ssia- 
not  a  portion  of  the  people,  in  a  state  of  slavery, 
but  the  whole  body  of  peasantry  in  a  wholly  agri- 
cultural nation,  as  in  Russia  and  formerly  in 
Hungary,  it  is  then  impossible  not  to  believe 
that  such  extensive  servitude  has  closed  gradually 
round  their  ,race.  The  Russians  themselves  con- 
tend, that  the  bondage  of  their  peasantry  was  not 
complete,  till  so  late  as  the  reign  of  Czar  Boris 
GodounofF,  who  mounted  the  throne  in  1603\ 

In  the  Georgian  provinces  of  Russia,  the  owner 
receives  from  the  peasants  a  mixture  of  produce  rents 
and  labor:  they  work  for  him  only  one  day  in 
the  week  instead  of  three,  and  pay  one  seventh  of 
the  crops  raised  on  their  allotments'^.  With  this 
and  perhaps  other  local  exceptions,  the  body  of 
Russian  serfs  who  are  actual  cultivators,  pay  labor 
rents,  nominally  at  the  rate  of  three  days  labor  in 
the  week,  for  their  allotments,  but  in  fact  their 
condition  has  degenerated  into  a  state  of  complete 

'  General  Boltin  was  encouraged  by  Catharine  II.  to  pub- 
lish (in  Russia)  some  researches  on  the  origin  of  slavery  in 
Russia,  and  as  such  was  his  conclusion,  it  rests  certainly  on  no 
niean  authority.  Before  the  time  of  Boris  Godounoff,  General 
Boltin  asserts,  that  the  only  real  slaves  in  Russia  were  prisoners 
taken  from  an  enemy,  and  that  the  peasants  were  reduced  to 
slavery  (asservis)  after  that  epoch.     Storch,  Vol.  VI.  p.  310. 

2  See  Gamba,  Voy.  dans  la  Russ.  Tom.  II.  p.  84. 

Rents  in 

24  Rent. 

Book  I.   personal  bondage,  and  the  demands  of  the  proprie- 
sect  2     ^®^'  though  influenced  by  custom,  are  really  limited 
only  by  his  own  forbearance.     The  money  commu- 
tation of  these  labor  rents,  when  they  are  permitted 

Russia.  to  make  one,  which  they  very  generally  are,  is  called 
like  the  payments  from  the  personal  slaves,  obroc 
or  abroc,  and  is  completely  arbitrary,  and  settled 
by  the  master  according  to  his  suspicions  of  their 

But  even  in  Russia,  the  bondage  of  the  serfs, 
although  more  entire  than  elsewhere,  is  yet,  as  re- 
spects a  large  body,  perhaps  half  of  the  peasantry,  in 
a  state  of  rapid  change.  That  change  has  originated 
with  the  government.  The  existence  of  very  exten- 
sive crown  domains  may  perhaps  be  considered  as  an 
indication  of  a  backward  state  of  civilization.  In 
other  parts  of  Europe,  they  will  usually  be  found 

^  Heber  (late  Bishop  of  Calcutta)  quoted  by  Clarke,  Tra- 
vels, Vol.  I.  p.  165.  The  peasants  belonging  to  the  nobles,  have 
their  abrock  regulated  by  their  means  of  getting  money ;  at  an 
average  throughout  the  empire  of  eight  or  ten  roubles.  It  then 
becomes  not  a  rent  for  land,  but  a  downright  tax  on  their 
industry.  Each  male  peasant  is  obliged  by  law  to  labor  three 
days  in  each  week  for  his  proprietor.  This  law  takes  effect 
on  his  arriving  at  the  age  of  fifteen.  If  the  proprietor  chooses 
to  employ  him  on  the  other  days  he  may ;  as,  for  example,  in 
a  manufactory;  but  he  then  finds  him  in  food  and  clothing. 
Mutual  advantage  however  generally  relaxes  this  law;  and 
excepting  such  as  are  selected  for  domestic  servants,  or,  as 
above,  are  employed  in  manufactories,  the  slave  pays  a  certain 
abrock  or  rent,  to  be  allowed  to  work  all  the  week  on  his 
own  account.  The  master  is  bound  to  furnish  him  with  a 
house  and  a  certain  portion  of  land. 

Rent.  25 

Small   in   proportion    to  the   advance  of  the   people   Book  i. 
in    wealth    and    numbers.      The    domains    of    the     c^f"' 

Sect.  2. 

Russian  sovereign  are  immense,   and  perhaps   more    

than  equal  the  estates  of  all  his  subjects.  This  ^^"J^^ 
fact  is  indicated  by  the  number  of  royal  serfs :  of  Russia. 
these,  in  1782,  ten  millions  and  a  half  belonged 
to  the  crown.  To  extract  labor  rents  from  such  a 
body  of  people,  that  is  to  employ  them,  as  they  are 
employed  by  subjects  in  raising  produce  for  the 
benefit,  and  under  the  superintendence,  of  their 
owner,  was  a  work  clearly  beyond  the  administrative 
capacity  of  any  government.  Induced  therefore 
partly  by  the  necessity  of  the  case,  partly,  we  may 
believe,  by  a  wise  policy,  the  Russian  government 
has  attempted  to  establish  on  the  crown  domains  a 
different  system  of  cultivation,  including  an  almost 
total  abolition  of  labor  rents,  and  a  voluntary  and 
very  considerable  modification  of  the  sovereign's 
power,  as  owner  of  the  serfs.  The  villages  inha- 
bited by  the  peasants  of  the  crown  have  been  formed 
into  a  sort  of  corporations  ;  the  surrounding  lands  are 
cultivated  by  them  at  a  very  moderate  fixed  rent  or 
abroc :  the  serfs  may  securely  acquire  for  themselves 
and  transmit  to  others  personal  property,  and  what 
is  a  more  important  privilege,  and  one  not  always 
conceded  to  their  class  in  neighbouring  countries 
of  more  liberal  institutions,  (in  Hungary  for  in- 
stance),  they  may   purchase  or   inherit  land^.       In 

^  This  privilege  was  given  in  1801,  and  in  1810  the 
peasants  of  the  crown  had  purchased  lands  to  the  value  of  two 
millions   of  roubles   in   Bank    assignations.       During   the   same 


26  Rent. 

Book  I.    the  tribunals  instituted  especially  for   the  manage- 
Chap.  ii.    j^gjj^  Qf  |-]jgij.  corporations,  two  peasants,  chosen  by 

the  body,  have  a  seat  and  voice   with    the  officers 

Labor  of  the  emperor\  But  the  right  to  "their  personal 
Russia.  services  has  not  been  wholly  abandoned.  The  serf  is 
so  far  attached  to  the  soil  as  to  be  forbidden  to  leave 
his  village  unless  with  a  special  licence,  which  is 
only  granted,  when  granted  at  all,  for  a  limited  term. 
The  Russian  monarchs  have  manufactures  and  mines 
conducted  on  their  own  account.  The  serfs  on  the 
crown  lands  are  still  liable  to  be  taken  from  their 
homes  and  employed  on  these.  They  are  hired 
out  occasionally  to  the  owners  of  such  similar  estab- 
lishments as  it  is  thought  politic  to  encourage ;  and 
in  some  of  the  foreign  provinces  loiited  to  Russia, 
though  not  lately,  it  should  seem,  in  Russia  proper, 
they  are  liable  to  be  sold,  or  to  be  given  away,  or 
granted  with  the  soil  for  a  term,  to  individuals  whom 
the  court  wishes  to  enrich.  Could  this  large  portion 
of  the  popidation  of  the  empire  be  thoroughly  eman- 
cipated, completely  freed  from  oppression,  and  ena- 
bled to  collect  and  preserve  capital,  Russia  would 
soon  have  a  third  estate  and  an  efficient  body  of 
cultivators,  fitted  gradually  to  bring  into  action  her 
great  territorial  resources.  The  tenants  on  the 
royal  domains  already  appear  to  be,  on  the  whole^ 
in  a  condition  superior  to  that  of  the  serfs  of  indi- 

period,  all   the  other  classes  (not    being    noble)  had   only  pur- 
chased to  the  amount  of  3..611..000  roubles  in  the  same  paper 


*   For  a    more  detailed   account  of   these    alterations,     see 
Storch,  Vol.  VI.  Note  xix.  p.  266. 

2  Storch,  Vol.  l\.  p.  2J)9- 

Rent.  27 

viduals,  but  the   progress    of  their  improvement  is   Book  i. 

Chap.  ii. 
Sect.  2. 

retarded   by   causes   not   likely    soon    to    lose    their       *^' "" 

influence.       However    earnestly    the    Emperors    of   

Russia  may  shake  oflP  the  character  of  owners  of  ^J^J^jj^ 
slaves,  they  will  evidently  be  obliged  for  some  gene-  R^^ssia. 
rations  to  retain  that  of  despots,  and  there  is  some 
danger,  that  the  ordinary  defects  of  their  form  of 
government  will  mar  their  really  humane  efforts 
as  landed  proprietors.  The  officers  of  the  Russian 
government  are  proverbially  ill  paid;  oppression 
and  extortion  still  afflict  the  peasantry,  and  the 
condition  of  the  serfs  of  the  crown  is  sometimes 
even  worse  than  that  of  the  slaves  of  the  neigh- 
bouring nobility  ^ 

In  the  mean  time,  the  insensibility  for  which 
the  body  of  the  Russian  peasantry  have  been  re- 
nowned, seems  to  be  giving  way.  Soon  after  the 
accession  of  the  present  Emperor,  many  of  the  tenants 
of  the  crown  refused  to  pay  their  abrock  or  rents,  and 
the  serfs  of  individuals  to  perform  their  accustomed 
labor.  A  proclamation  appeared,  reproaching  them 
with  entertaining  unreasonable  expectations  of  being 
released  from  rents  and  services  altogether,  and 
threatening  them,  in  a  style  which  it  must  be  con- 
fessed is  truly  oriental,  with  severe  punishment  if 
they  even  petitioned  the  Czar  on  such  subjects  again. 
But  we  must  not  judge  the  conduct  of  the  Russian 
court  by  the  harsh  language  of  a  proclamation  is- 
sued on  such  an  emergency.  The  spirit  in  which 
the  Czars  have  dealt  with  their   serfs  has  hitherto 

'  Storch,  Vol.  IV.  p.  296. 



Book  I.   been  evidently  paternal.     The  form  of  their  govern- 
^^J'g"'    ment    is   theoretically    bad;    but    Russia    offers    at 

present  no  materials  for  forming   any  not  likely  to 

be  worse,  and  the  gradual  improvement  in  the  con- 
dition of  such  a  people,  however  slowly  we  see  it 
proceed,  is  probably,  after  all,  safer  in  the  hands 
of  the  monarch,  than  it  would  be  in  their  own, 
or  in  those  of  their  masters  the  nobles. 

Rents  in 

Book  I. 

Chap.  ii. 
Sect.  3. 

Rents  in 


On  Labor  Rents  in  Hungary. 

In  Hungary,  the  nobles  alone  are  allowed  to 
become  the  proprietors  of  land,  either  by  inheritance 
or  purchase.  They  constitute  about  one  part  in 
twenty-one  of  a  population  of  eight  millions.^  Of 
the  other  inhabitants,  a  great  majority  are  peasants ; 
for  in  1777  there  were  only  30,921  artizans  in 
Hungary,  and  their  number  is  said  to  be  not  much 
increased."  These  peasants  occupy  about  half  the 
cultivated  surface  of  the  country,^  and  all  pay  labor 

Till  the  reign  of  Maria  Theresa,  iheir  situation 
was  nearly  similar  to  that  of  the  Russian  serf.     They 

'  Bright's  Hungary,  p.  110.  The  population  of  Hungary 
amounts  by  the  last  returns  to  nearly  ten  millions. 

^  In  the  year  1777,  the  whole  number  of  handicraftsmen, 
their  servants,  and  apprentices,  in  Hungary,  amounted  to 
.30,921  ;  and  this  number  does  not  seem,  by  more  recent  partial 
calculations,  to  have  been  much  increased.^ — Brii^ht,  p.  205. 

3  Ibid.  p.  113. 

Re7it.  29 

were   all    attached    to    the    estates    on    which    they   book  i. 
were  born,  and   subjected  to   services  and  payments    secf  3 

wholly  indefinite.     That  Princess  set  the  example  of    

an  earnest  attempt  to  elevate  their  character,  and  ^ntJin 
improve  their  circumstances;  and  the  example  has  Hungary. 
been  followed  in  the  neighbouring  countries  with 
zeal  certainly,  if  not  always  with  judgment  or 
success.  The  results  of  her  own  efforts  were  ex- 
tremely imperfect,  and  not  always  free  from  mischief: 
but  it  must  be  remembered,  that  those  efforts  were 
much  cramped  by  the  influence  which  the  Hunga- 
rian constitution  enabled  the  proprietors  to  exercise, 
in  thwarting  or  modifying  her  measures  for  the 
emancipation  of  their  tenantry. 

By  an  edict  of  hers,  which  the  Hungarians  call 
the  Urbarium,  personal  slavery  and  attachment  to 
the  soil  were  abolished,  and  the  peasants  declared 
to  be  *^  homines  liberce  transmigrationis."  On  the 
other  hand,  they  were  declared  mere  tenants  at  will, 
whom  the  lord  at  his  pleasure  might  dismiss  from 
the  estate.  But  an  interest  in  the  soil,  though 
denied  to  them  as  individuals,  was  attempted  to 
be  secured  to  them  as  a  body.  The  lands  on  each 
estate,  before  allotted  to  the  maintenance  of  serfs, 
were  declared  to  be  legally  consecrated  to  that  pur- 
pose for  ever.  They  were  divided  into  portions  of 
from   35  to  40  English  acres   each,  called  Sessions.^ 

^  The  size  of  these  sessions  seems  to  have  differed  in  different 
parts  of  Hungary,  probably  in  pi'oportion  to  the  fertility  of 
the  soil. 

30  Rent. 

Book  I.  Tlic  quantity  of  labor  due  to  the  proprietor  for  each 
^s^as!  session,  was  fixed  at  104  days  per  annum/  The 
proprietor   might   divide    these   sessions,    and   grant 

R^nuin     ^"y  minute  portion  of  them  he  pleased  to  a  peasant; 

Hungary,  j^^^  jjg  could  Stipulate  for  labor  only  in  proportion 
to  the  size  of  the  holding :  for  half  a  session  52  days, 
for  a  quarter  26  days,  and  so  proportionably  for 
smaller  quantities. 

The  urbarium  of  Maria  Theresa  still  continues 
the  magna  charta  of  the  Hungarian  serfs.  But 
the  authority  of  the  owners  of  the  soil  over  the 
persons  and  fortunes  of  their  tenantry  has  been 
very  imperfectly  abrogated :  the  necessities  of  the 
peasants  oblige  them  frequently  to  resort  to  their 
landlords  for  loans  of  food;  they  become  laden  with 
heavy  debts  to  be  discharged  by  labor.  A  long 
list  of  customary  payments  of  flax,  poultry,  &c.  are 
still  due,  which  swell  this  account :  the  proprietors 
retain  the  right  of  employing  them  at  pleasure ; 
paying  them,  in  lieu  of  subsistence,  about  one-third 
of  the  actual  value  of  their  labor :-  and  lastly,   the 

^  Besides  this  he  must  give  4  fowls,  12  eggs,  and  a  pfund  and 
a  half  of  butter ;  and  every  thirty  peasants  must  give  one  calf 
yearly.  He  must  also  pay  a  florin  for  liis  house;  must  cut  and 
bring  home  a  klafter  of  wood ;  must  spin  in  his  family  six  pfund 
of  wool  or  hemp,  provided  by  the  landlord :  and  among  four 
peasants,  the  proprietor  claims  what  is  called  a  long  journey, 
that  is,  they  must  transport  20  centners,  each  100  French  pounds 
weight,  the  distance  of  two  day's  journey  out  and  home :  and 
besides  all  this,  they  must  pay  one-tenth  of  all  their  products  to 
the  church,  and  one-ninth  to  the  lord. 

2  Bright,  p.  115. 

Rent.  31 

administration  of  justice  is  still  in  the  hands  of  book  i. 
the  nobles  ;  ^  and  one  of  the  first  sights  which  strike  g^^J"*  ^' 
a  foreigner  on  approaching  their  mansions,  is  a  sort 


of  low  frame-work  of  posts,  to  which  a  serf  is  tied  j^^^^^^  j^ 
when  it  is  thought   proper  to  administer   the   dis-  Hungary. 
cipline  of  the  whip,  for  offences  which  do  not  seem 
grave  enough  to  demand  a  formal  trial*. 

But  while  the  regulations  of  the  urbarium  have 
secured  thus  imperfectly  the  interests  and  liberty 
of  the  peasant,  they  are  extremely  embarrassing  to 
the  proprietors.  A  part  of  each  estate  is  irrevoca- 
bly devoted  to  the  maintenance  of  the  laborers,  and 
that  not  fixed  in  reference  to  its  extent  and  wants, 
but  decided  by  the  number  of  peasants  who  hap- 
pened to  be  on  it  at  the  time  of  the  edict.  On 
some  estates,  as  might  be  expected,  the  sessions 
devoted  to  the  peasantry  maintain  more  laborers 
than  are  now  wanted.  The  labor  rents,  to  that 
extent,  are  worth  nothing  to  the  proprietor,  and 
unless  he  has  an  adjacent  estate  to  employ  the  serfs 
upon,  he  gets  nothing  but  the  flax,  poultry,  and 
small  produce  payments  to  which  they  are  liable. 
Some  estates  are  wholly  occupied  by  useless  laborers ; 
on  others  there  are  too  few ;  and  from  the  many  ties 
which  still  connect  the  serf  and  his  landlord,  an  in- 
terchange between  different  proprietors  is  rare,  while 
from  the  unwillingness  of  the  peasants  to  quit  their 
hold,  such  as  it  is,  upon  the  soil,  free  labor,  is 
still  more  so.     All   this   part   of  the   arrangement 

3  Storch,  Vol.  VI.  p.  308.     Bright.    - 
*  See  Bright. 

32  Rent. 

Book  I.    jg  evidently  clumsy  and  inexpedient :  it  is  probable 
s^a  3.    ^^  originated  in  a  compromise  between  the  wish  of 

the  Empress  to  secure  the   peasants  some  interest 

Rems  in  ^^  ^"^^  ^^^^'  ^^^  ^^^  dislikc  of  the  nobles  to  establish 
Hungary.  ^^  independence  of  their  serfs.  The  diet  only 
confirmed  the  urbarium  at  first  provisionally,  till 
something  better  could  be  devised \  It  appears  from 
Schmalz,  that  similar  attempts  on  the  part  of  the 
sovereign,  to  secure  to  the  peasants,  as  a  body, 
the  occupation  of  any  land  once  cultivated  by  them, 
were  common  throughout  Germany,  and  originated 
in  the  exemption  of  the  lands  cultivated  by  the 
nobles  from  direct  taxation :  when  land  once  got 
into  the  hands  of  the  peasant,  it  was  available  to 
the  public  revenue :  hence  many  laws  existed  in 
different  states,  which  forbade  its  resumption  by  the 
proprietor,  without  securing  a  definite  interest  in  it 
to  any  individual  tenant.  Such  laws  necessarily 
created  complicated  and  anomalous  interests  in  the 
soil,  and  in  many  instances  left  in  no  hands  any 
authority  over  it,  which  could  be  a  sufficient  basis 
for  the  most  obvious  improvements'. 

'  Storch.  Vol.  VI.  p.  308. 

2  Schmalz,  Econ.  Polit.  (French  translation,  Vol.  II,  p.  109). 
Sans  doute,  ce  sont  les  proprietaires  eux-memes,  qui  ont  donne 
lieu  a  la  defense  qui  leur  a  ete  faite  de  reprendre  leurs  fermes 
des  mains  de  leur  paysans,  parce  qu'ils  ont  cherche,  et  qu'ils 
sont  parvenus,  a  se  faire  dt'grever  des  impots  que  les  paysans 
paient  a  I'etat,  et  qu'en  consequence,  I'etat  a  interet  a  s'opposer 
a  ce  que  les  fermes  ou  metairies  ne  soient  pas  reunies  au  bien 
noble  du  seigneur  fancier,  et  afTranchies  par  la  de  la  perception 
de  I'impot. 

Rents.  33 

Such   a  system,   however,   as  established  by  the  Book  i. 

Urbarium,  is  still  nearly  universal  throughout  Hun-  g^^^a" 

gary,    and    there  is  little  immediate  prospect    of   a     



On  Labor  Rents  in  Poland. 

The  Polish  serfs,  before  the  partition,  seem  to   Book  i. 
h^ve  been  in  a  condition  very  similar  to  that  of  those    g^^'  4 ' 

of  Hungary  before  the  edict  of  Maria  Theresa,  dif-    

fering  little,  if  at  all,  from  that  of  the  Russian  slave^;  Rente  in 
but  from  the  dark  fate  of  Poland,  the  system  of^°^*"'^* 
labor  rents  now  presents  itself,  in  different  parts 
of  what  once  formed  that  kingdom,  under  a  con- 
siderable variety  of  modifications.  In  the  portions 
seized  by  the  partitioning  powers,  the  arrangements 
between  landlord  and  tenant  have  been  influenced 
by  the  very  different  measures  adopted  by  each 
in  their  own  dominions ;  while  in  what  may  now 
be  called  Poland  proper,  which  became  a  Russian 
province  at  a  later  date,  a  system  has  arisen  which 
is  peculiar  to  it. 

When   in  1791    Stanislaus  Augustus,    and   the 
States  were  preparing  a  hopeless  resistance  to  the 

3  Till  the  reign  of  Casimir  the  Greats  about  the  middle  of  the 
14th  century,  the  Polish  nobles  exercised  over  their  peasants  the 
uncontrouled  power  of  life  and  death.  Three  days'  labour  was 
their  usual  rent. — Burnett's  View  of  present  State  of  Poland, 
p.  102. 


34  Ui-nfti. 

Book  I.  threatened    attack    of    Russia,    a    new    constitution, 

^s^rr  ''^^^opted  too   late,   established  the  complete  personal 

freedom    of    the    peasantry.      This    boon    has    never 

?f•'°^  been   recalled.     But   this   constitution   did    no  more 

Kcnts  in 

Poland.  for  them  ;  it  secured  them  no  interest  in  the  land 
they  occupied :  it  did  not  even  stipulate,  like  the 
Hungarian  regulations,  that  a  definite  portion  of 
the  soil  should  be  unalienably  devoted  to  the 
maintenance  of  their  class ;  but  it  left  them  to 
arrange  their  contracts  with  the  landowners  as 
they  could.  Finding  that  their  dependence  on  the 
proprietors  for  subsistence  remained  undiminished, 
the  peasants  shewed  no  very  grateful  sense  of  the 
boon  bestowed  upon  them :  they  feared  that  they 
should  now  be  deprived  of  all  claim  upon  the 
proprietors  for  assistance,  when  calamity  or  infirmity 
overtook  them.  This  loss  they  thought  more  than 
balanced  the  value  of  an  increase,  to  them  at  first 
merely  nominal,  in  their  political  rights.  It  is 
only  since  they  have  discovered  that  the  connection 
between  them  and  the  owners  of  the  estates  on 
which  they  reside  is  little  altered  in  practice,  and 
that  their  old  masters  very  generally  continue,  from 
expediency  or  humanity,  the  occasional  aid  they 
formerly  lent  them,  that  they  have  become  re- 
conciled   to    their  new  character    of  freemen. 

But  although  bestowed  upon  a  people  so  far  sunk 
as  to  be  ignorant  of  its  value,  the  gift  of  freedom 
has  already  developed  its  importance  among  them. 
Since  the  date  of  the  emancipation  of  the  Polish 
peasantry,  another  alteration  in  the  laws  has  taken 
away  the  exclusive   riglit    of  the   no])les   to   };e  pos- 

Rents.  35 

sessors  of  the  soil,  and  introduced  a  new   class   of  ^°'^^  ^• 
proprietors.     These  have  been,  on   the  whole,  more    sJt  T 

diligent    in   pushing   cultivation    than    their   prede-    

cessors  on  their  estates,  and  their  enterprises  have  Remsin 
already  created  an  increased  demand  for  labor.  The  p°^*"*'- 
effects  of  this  have  shewn  themselves  in  the  only 
manner  in  which,  in  a  country  so  occupied  and  so 
cultivated,  they  could  shew  themselves,  in  increased 
wages,  obtained  by  increased  allotments  of  land 
granted  on  the  reserve  of  less  labor,  and  with  every 
encouragement  to  the  peasantry  to  use  their  free- 
dom, and  migrate  to  the  estates  on  which  their 
labor  is  most  wanted'. 

'  See  Mr.  Jacob's  First  Report,  p.  27-    The  Appendix  to  this 
Report  contains   some    detailed  returns   from  the  managers  of 
Polish  estates,  and   taken   with   Mr.  Bright's  book,  presents  a 
perfect  picture  of  the  practical  working  of  the  system  of  labor 
rents    in    Poland   and   in    Hungary.     For  a  graphic  sketch  of 
the   state  of  manners  and  morals  it  has  produced,  the  reader 
may   consult   Burnett.     In  Poland,  in  Austria,  and  other  parts 
of  Germany,    the    proprietor's    domain,    with    his    implements, 
animals,  and    capital    of  all   sorts,    are  sometimes   let    at  a  low 
money  rent  to  a   tenant,  together  with   the  right  of  exacting 
and  using  the  labor  due  from  the  serfs.     The  superior  tenant 
is,  in  Poland,  very  often  a  younger  branch  of  the  family,  occa- 
sionally   a   stranger.     This    substitution    of   another    person    as 
cultivator    of  the    domain,  leaves,  however,    the  labor  rents  of 
the   serfs  (our  present  object)  precisely  where  they   were.     It 
is  considered  a  veiy  disastrous  mode  of  disposing  of  the  do- 
main: the  stock  and  capital  are  usually,  as  might  be  expected, 
ruined    at   the    expiration   of  the   lease ;   it   is    not   now    prac- 
tised extensively ;  though  it  appears  from   Mr.  Jacob's  Second 
Report,  to  be  now  spreading  in  the   North-west  of  Germany. 
It  may,  however,  possibly  prove  hereafter,  one  stepping-stone 

( •  f2  to 



On  Labor  Rents  hi   Lironin  and  Esthonia. 

1'he  state  of  tlie  peasantry  in  Livonia  is  re- 
Chap.  ii.  markablc,  because  it  presents  the  results  of  a  deli- 
Sect.  5.    i)erate   experiment   on    the  best  means  of  gradually 

Labor        converting  a  serf  tenantry   into  a  race  of  freemen. 

Rentsin  'pj]j    ^\^q   reiffu    of  Alexander  the  condition   of 

Ivivoniaand  " 

Esthonia.  the  Livonian  peasantry  was  similar  to  that  of  the 
Russian  slave.  The  servile  condition  of  the  culti- 
vators had  attracted  some  attention  under  the  Em- 
press Catharine,  and  she  had  encouraged  the  men 
of  letters  in  her  dominions  to  communicate  their 
ideas  on  the  best  means  of  gradually  modifying 
it.  M.  de  Boltin,  M.  de  Kaisarof,  and  JNI.  de 
Stroinovsl^y,  successively  wrote  upon  the  subject. 
The  work  of  the  last  written  in  Polish  was  trans- 
lated into  Russian  :  it  entered  into  a  detailed  ac- 
count of  the  measures  proper  to  prepare  and  for- 
ward what  was  treated  as  a  great  and  useful  reform. 
Nor  were  these  notions  confined  to  literary  men, 
or  to  individuals.  In  1805  the  whole  body  of  pro- 
prietors in  Esthonia  agreed  among  themselves  on 
some  preliminary  regulations  for  the  peasantry  on 
their  estates,  which,  it  was  avowed,  were  meant  to 
pave  the  way  to  their  ultimate  emancipation.      These 

to  a  (lifTerent  system  ;  and  if  the  dilapidation  of  the  stock 
could  be  eflTectually  jTiiarded  affainst,  it  most  ))robablv  would 
do  so. 

Rents.  .'37 

regulations  received  a  formal  sanction  from  the  Em-   ^^°^  }• 
peror.     The    alterations    in    I^ivonia    began    a    year    sect.  5. 

earlier^  and  seem  to  have  originated  in  minds  equally     

alive  to  the  importance  of  a  change,  and  to  the  Rents^in 
practical  reasons  for  its  being  effected  gradually.  EsthSJTia*."** 
Their  object  aj^pears  to  have  been,  to  elevate  the 
serf  by  degrees,  and  while  that  elevation  was  in 
progress,  to  retain  considerable  control  over  him, 
partly  for  his  own  advantage,  partly  to  secure  the 
interests  of  the  proprietors.  The  personal  liberty 
at  first  conceded  to  the  peasant  was  much  less  com- 
plete than  that  of  the  Hungarian  and  Pole,  for 
he  was  still  attached  to  the  glebe,  and  had  no 
power  of  chusing  his  employment  or  residence.  But 
a  benefit  was  bestowed  more  important  in  the  out- 
set than  freedom  itself,  to  persons  so  wholly  de- 
pendant on  the  soil  for  subsistence ;  a  benefit  which 
had  been  withheld  from  him  in  Hungary  and 
Poland :  every  individual  peasant  was  invested  with 
a  secure  interest  in  the  allotment  of  land  which 
he  cultivated. 

The  edict  of  the  Emperor  finally  legalizing  these 
regulations  appeared  in  1804.  The  Livonian  serf 
was  declared  the  hereditary  farmer  of  the  land  lie 
occupied.  The  rent  was  fixed  in  labor,  to  be  per- 
formed on  the  domain  of  the  proprietor.  It  was  to 
leave  the  peasant  master  of  at  least  two-thirds  of 
his  time.  If  this  labor  rent  should  at  any  time  be 
commuted  for  a  money  payment,  the  amount  of 
that  payment  was  limited  and  fixed,  and  it  was 
never  to  be  increased.  A  lease  was  to  be  granted 
on  these  terms,  irrevocable,  and  only  subject  to  for- 

38  Rents. 

Book  I.  feituiG  ill  casG  the  rent  should  be  two  years  in  arrear ; 
g^^t^'g'  and  then  only  after  the  decision  of  a  legal  tribunal, 
which    was    to    direct    the    lease   to   be    renewed    to 

R^msin      t^^^  1^^^^  ^^^^^  ®^  ^^^  defaulter.     Some  rights  of  cut- 
Livoniaand  tiiigr  both  fircwood  and  timber  for  building,  in  the 

Eslhonia.  °  i  -i  /• 

proprietor's  forests,  were  also  reserved  to  the  seri. 
He  was  enabled  to  acquire  property  in  moveables 
or  land,  and  to  mm'ry  at  his  own  discretion. 

With  all  these  privileges,  however,  he  remains 
attached  to  the  soil.  He  can  no  longer  be  sold 
away  from  it,  but  he  is  sold  with  it,  or  rather  the 
benefits  arising  from  his  compulsory  occupation  of  his 
allotment  are  sold  v»ith  the  rest  of  the  estate :  he 
is  subject  to  a  correctional  discipline  of  fifteen  lashes. 

On  the  whole,  these  regulations  do  credit  to  the 
good  feelings  and  good  sense  of  the  framers  of  them. 
The  emancipation  of  the  serf  is  incomplete ;  but  it 
would  have  been  evidently  rash  to  have  abandoned 
at  once  all  control  over  the  industry  of  so  rude 
a  race ;  on  whose  exertions  the  subsistence  of  the 
proprietors  themselves,  and  the  whole  cultivation  of 
the  country,  must  for  some  time  depend'.  The 
successful  results  to  be  looked  for  from  such  an 
experiment  could  not  be  expected  to  appear  at 
once ;  but  it  is  unpleasant  to  observe  the  little 
effect  apparently  produced  in  fifteen  years.  Von 
Halen,  who  travelled  through  Livonia  in  1819,  ob- 
serves, "Along  the  high  road  through  Livqnia,  are 

*  For  an  instance  of  the  bad  results  of  a  benevolent  but 
ill-judged  attempt  at  a  hasty  and  complete  emancipation,  see 
Burnett,  page  106. 

Rents.  39 

found  at  short  distances  filthy  public  houses,  called    Book  i. 
in   the    country   Rhartcharuas,  before    the    doors    of    „^^'"* 

•^  '  Sect.  5. 

which   are    usually    seen    a    multitude    of   wretched    

carts  and  sledges  belonging  to  the  peasants,  who  j^^^Jin 
are  so  greatly  addicted  to  brandy  and  strong  liquors,  Livonia  and 
that  they  spend  whole  hours  in  those  places,  with- 
out paying  the  least  regard  to  their  horses,  which 
they  leave  thus  exposed  to  the  inclemency  of  the 
weather,  and  which,  Avith  themselves,  belong  to  the 
gentlemen  or  noblemen  of  the  country.  Nothing 
proves  so  much  the  state  of  barbarism  in  which 
these  men  are  sunk,  as  the  manner  in  which  they 
received  the  decree  issued  about  this  time.  These 
savages,  unwilling  to  depend  upon  their  own  exer- 
tions for  support,  made  all  the  resistance  in  their 
power  to  that  decree,  the  execution  of  which  was  at 
length  entrusted  to  an  armed  force^." 

The  Livonian  peasants,  therefore,  received  their 
new  privileges  yet  more  ungraciously  than  the  Poles, 
though  accompanied  with  the  gift  of  property,  and 
secure  means  of  subsistence  if  they  chose  to  exert 
themselves.  Subsequently  their  discontent  appears 
to  have  taken  a  different  turn.  They  are  said  to 
have  constituted  a  part  of  the  peasantry,  against 
whom  that  edict  of  the  Emperor  Nicholas  was 
directed,  which  accuses  the  serfs  of  wishing  to  throw 
off  all  rents  and  services  at  once. 

2  Narrative  of  Don  Juan  Von  Halen,  &c.  Vol.  II.  p.  38. 
Don  Juan  was  mistaken  as  to  the  date  of  the  decree,  which 
had  been  issued  since  1804  by  the  Emperor  Alexander,  for 
partly  emancipating  some  of  the  Livonian  serfs. 



Of  Labor  Rents  in  Germany. 

Book  I.  We    shall  understand   better  the   present  state 

Sect.  6     ^^  labor  rents  in   Germany,  if  we  previously   recall 

to  mind  the  downward   progress  of  similar   systems 

Renuin     ^^  Other  countries,  from  which  they  have  disappeared 
Germany,    gradually  *,  bccause  we  shall  then  see  distinctly  the 
successive    steps    of  that   slow   demolition,  the  pro- 
gress of  which   Germany  now  in   its  different  parts 
exhibits  in  many  various  stages. 

We  may  take  England  for  such  a  previous 
instance.  Thirteen  hundred  years  have  elapsed 
since  the  final  establishment  of  the  Saxons.  Eight 
hundred  of  these  had  passed  away  and  the  Normans 
had  been  for  two  centuries  settled  here,  and  a  very 
large  proportion  of  the  body  of  cultivators  was  still 
precisely  in  the  situation  of  the  Russian  serf\ 
During  the  next  three  hundred,  the  unlimited  labor 
rents  paid  by  the  villeins  for  the  lands  allotted  to 
them  were  gradually  commuted  for  definite  services, 
still  payable  in  kind ;  and  they  had  a  legal  right 
to  the  hereditary  occupation  of  their  copyholds. 
Two  hundred  years  have  barely  elapsed  since  the 
change  to  this  extent  became  quite  universal,  or 
since  the  personal  bondage  of  the  villeins  ceased 
to  exist  among  us.  The  last  claim  of  villenage 
recorded  in  our  courts  was  in  the  15th  of  James  I. 
1618.     Instances  probably  existed   some    time  after 

'   Eden,  Vol.  I.  p.  7-     Appendix  V. 

Rents.  41 

this.     The  ultimate  cessation  of  the  right  to  demand    ^'^^  i- 
their    stipulated    services    in    kind    has    been    since    s"ect.  c. 

brought   about,   silently   and   imperceptibly,    not    by    

positive  law ;  for,  when  other  personal  services  were  R^nts  in 
abolished    at   the   restoration,    those    of  copyholders  ^^""^"y- 
were  excepted  and  reserved^. 

Throughout  Germany  similar  changes  are  now 
taking  place,  on  the  land ;  they  are  perfected  perhaps 
no  where,  and  in  some  large  districts  they  exhibit 
themselves  in  very  backward  stages.  A  short  de- 
scription of  the  condition  of  one  state  will  make 
that  of  others  intelligible ;  allowance  must  of  course 
be  made  for  an  indefinite  variety  of  modifications 
in  the  practice  and  phraseology  of  different  districts. 

The  domain  lands,  those  which  in  Hungary 
Poland  and  many  German  states  are  still  culti- 
vated by  the  nobles  themselves,  are  generally  in 
Hanover  let  for  a  money  rent  to  persons  who 
occupy  the  domain  as  a  farm,  and  have  the  benefit 
of  the  services  which  the  peasant  tenants  are  bound 
to  perform.  Some  of  these  larger  tenants,  under  the 
name  of  Amtmen,  exercise  the  important  territorial 
jurisdiction,  still  invested  in  the  nobles,  and  kept 
alive  and  distinct  even  on  the  demesnal  possessions 
of  the  crown^.  The  amtmen  are  not  usually  prac- 
tical farmers  themselves,  but  lawyers  or  officers  of 
government,  the  only  classes  which  seem  to  possess 
capital  for  such  undertakings.  They  reside  some- 
times in   towns,  and   employ  stewards  or  bailiffs  to 

2  See  12th  Charles  II.  c.  24. 

^  Hodgskin,  Vol.  II.  p.  5.     "The  Amtman  frequently  unites,"  &c. 

42  Rents. 

Book  I.    look  aftcr  tlicir  very  large  farms'.     These   stewards 
Se*c^  6      ^^^    ^^^^    ^^'^^    practical    fanners    in    Germany,     are 

usually    well    educated    (often    in    the    agricultural 

R^msin      institutions);  and  are    inferior   in   general   and  pro- 
G«rmany.    fessioual  kuowlcdgc  to  uo  sct  of  cultivators   in  the 

It  would  be  well  for  the  strength  and  prosperity 
of  Germany,  if  its  soil  were  universally  under  such 
management.  But  by  far  the  larger  proportion,  it 
has  been  loosely  said  four  fifths,  is  occupied  by  a 
class  of  men  called  collectively  Bauers.  These,  under 
another  namfe,  are  the  serfs,  who  in  Poland,  Hun- 
gary, and  Russia,  form  the  laboring  tenantry  of 
the  nobles.  When  the  laws  are  recollected,  (passed 
as  before  remarked  for  fiscal  purposes)  which  in 
many  German  states  forbade  the  cultivation  by 
the  proprietor  of  any  land  which  had  once  been  in 
the  hands  of  a  baucr,  the  spread  of  this  order  and 
the  proportion  of  the  land  occupied  by  them  will 
not  appear  extraordinary.  In  some  parts  of  Hano- 
ver these  men  now  present  themselves  in  two  dis- 
tinct classes,  with  a  variety  of  subdivisions.  They 
are  called  Leibeigeners  and  Meyers.  The  leibei- 
geners  are  in  the  state  of  the  English  villein,  when 
his  labor  rent  had  ceased  to  be  arbitrary,  but  was 
still  paid  in  kind,  after  his  hereditary  claim  to  his 
allotment  had  been  recognized.  The  leibeigener 
pays  a  labor  rent,  in  kind,  and  cultivates  the  lands 
of  the  landlord,  for  a  certain  number  of  days  in  the 
year;  brings  home   the  lord's  wood,   performs  other 

'   Hodgskin,   \'ol.  H.  ji.  \}0. 

Rents.  43 

services  when  called  upon,  and  is  subjected  to  some   Book  i. 
most  burthensome  and  vexatious  restrictions  as  to  the    ?^^'  "* 

Sect.  6. 

mode  of  cropping  his   land,   which   must    be   so   ar-    , 

ranged  as  to   leave   one   third  always   in  fallow,   for  i"^^*"". 

®  _  •  '  Rents  m 

the  proprietor's  flocks  to  range  over.  But  still  the  Germany, 
conditions  on  which  he  holds  the  land  are  fixed;  and 
it  descends  to  his  children.  He  is  much  in  the 
position  in  which  the  Livonian  proprietors  have 
lately  placed  their  serf  tenants,  except  that  he  is 
not  tied  to  the  soil. 

The  meyer  tenant  is  a  bauer  whose  labor  rents 
have  been  commuted  for  money  or  a  corn  rent,  and 
in  some  cases  for  a  definite  portion  of  the  crops  : 
though  he  is  still  liable  to  some  trifling  services. 
The  proprietor  cannot  raise  the  rent,  nor  can  he 
refuse  to  renew  the  lease,  unless  the  heir  be  an 
idiot,  or  the  rent  in  arrear :  but  as  this  tenure  in 
many  instances  is  modern,  the  rent  often  amounts 
to  nearly  the  full  value  of  the  land.  This  tenure 
is  gradually*  displacing  that  of  the  leibeigeners,  and 
the  tenant  under  it  is  much  in  the  position  of  the 
English  copyholder,  when  he  had  ceased  to  perform 
services  in  kind,  and  before  his  quit  rents  had  become 
a  mere  nominal  payment.  The  meyer  pays  a  fine 
on  alienation. 

In  some  cases  the  whole  of  an  estate  is  occu- 
pied by  meycrs  and  leibeigeners,  and  the  proprietor 
has  no  domain  land  at  all. 

The  bauers  throughout  Germany  are  nearly  all 
free :  chained  by  many  ties  to  the  soil,  they  are 
no  longer  the  property  of  its  proprietors,  or  le- 
gally   confined    to    the    spot    tiiey    cultivate.      But 

41  Rents. 

Book  I.    they  liavc  gained  tliis  freedom,  not,  as  in  England, 

Chap.  ii.    ^y  ^^^  gradual  wearing  out  of  their  chains,  but  by 

^'        the  determined    exertion    of   their    sovereigns.       A 

Labor         woman,   Sophia   Magdalena    of  Denmark,    gave,    in 

Gemaiy.     1761,    oue    of  the   earliest   examples  of  this  spirit. 

Between  1770    and    1790,    it    was    followed  by  the 

Margrave   of  Baden   and  other  minor  princes.      In 

1781,  Joseph  II.  abolished  slavery  in  the  German 

dominions  of  Austria.      Since   1810   it  has    ceased 

in  Prussia,  and  very  lately  in  INIecklenburg  \ 

The  higher  classes  have  partaken  largely  for 
many  generations  of  the  general  civilization  of 
Europe.  To  their  lothing  at  the  degraded  condi- 
tion of  their  inferiors,  the  latter  owe  an  emanci- 
pation from  personal  thraldom,  of  which  in  some 
cases  they  hardly  yet  feel  the  full  value.  At  the 
moment  in  which  they  became  free  men  they  be- 
come in  some  instances  small  proprietors,  subject  to 
a  perpetual  rent  charge.  To  their  forcible  invest- 
ment with  this  character  in  Prussia,  we  shall  here- 
after have  occasion  to  advert. 


Having  now  traced  the  system  of  labor  rents 
from  Russia  to  the  Rhine*,  we  may  quit  it.  Frag- 
ments  of  it  indeed  still   subsist  to  the   westward  of 

>   Schmalz,   Vol.  I.  p.  1C4. 

2  On  the  very  poor  soils  in  the  German  provinces  west  of 
the  Rhine,  labor  rents  still,   I  am  told,  prevail. 

Rents.  45 

the  Rhine ;  the  relics  for  the  most  part  of  a  storm    Book  i. 
and  inundation,  which  have  passed  over  and  away;    secf?^ 

but  they  are  thinly  scattered,  and  cease  to  give  any    

peculiar  form  and  complexion   to  the  relations   be-  t^^Zm 
tween  the  different  orders  of  society.  Germany. 

Of  these  fragments  however,  one  of  the  most 
interesting  to  us,  subsists,  under  a  very  primitive 
form,  in  a  corner  of  our  own  island.  In  the 
northern  Highlands,  the  chief  seems  never  to  have 
been  able  to  introduce  either  produce  or  money 
rents,  exclusively,  that  is,  to  trust  his  people  with 
the  task  of  producing  subsistence  for  himself  and 
his  households.  Each  chief  therefore  kept  in  his 
hands  a  considerable  domain ;  the  remainder  of  his 
country  was  parcelled  out  among  the  tacksmen  or 
inferior  gentry  of  the  clan,  and  these  again  divid- 
ed it  among  a  race  of  tenants,  who  paid  a  large 
proportion  of  the  stipulated  rent  in  labor,  poultry, 
eggs,  and  articles  of  domestic  produce,  exactly  simi- 
lar to  those  which  form  a  part  of  the  dues  of  the 
Hungarian  peasant.  .In  their  rent  rolls,  servitude 
is  included  as  a  prominent  and  important  article. 
The  interest  of  the  proprietors  has  led  them,  since 
1745,  to  substitute  for  this  race  of  tenantry,  ex- 
tensive sheep  farmers.  The  cultivation  of  the  old 
tenantry  appears  to  have  been  slothful,  ignorant, 
and  inefficient,  and  their  situation  extremely  mise- 
rable :  but  still  these  northern  serfs,  whose  spirit 
had  never  been  subdued  by  personal  bondage,  clung 
fondly  to  their  homes,  and  have  been  removed,  we 
know,  only  by  a  difficult  and  painful  process. 

The    agent    of    the    Marquis    of    Stafford    has 

46  Rents. 

Book  I.    published   an   account  of  the  changes    now    taking 
Sect  7"    pl^c^  i^   Sutherland,    which   contains  a   very  inter- 

esting  picture  of  the  habits,  character,   and  circum- 

R^^'in      stances   this  system   had  produced   there ^     Its  last 
Germany,    rclics   are  howcver  fast  wearing  away,  and  when  a 
few  leases  to  existing  tacksmen  have  expired,  labor 
rents  will  finally  disappear  from  Great  Britain. 

It  has  been  common  to  speak  of  the  services 
due  from  serfs  throughout  Europe  as  feudal  ser- 
vices, and  of  the  relation  between  them  and  the 
proprietors  as  part  of  the  feudal  system.  This  is 
by  no  means  correct.  The  feudal  ties  originated  in 
a  plan  of  military  defence,  made  necessary  by  the 
circumstances,  and  congenial  to  the  habits,  of  the 
barbaiians  who  had  quartered  themselves  in  Western 
Europe.  The  granter  of  a  feud  deliberately  divested 
himself  on  certain  specified  conditions,  of  all  right 
to  the  possession  of  the  land  which  he  abandoned 
to  his  vassal.  The  object  in  labor  rents  was  produce 
alone :  they  arose  in  Europe  as  in  the  Society  Islands, 
from  a  mode  of  cultivation  which  the  rudeness  of 
the  people  made  necessary,  if  any  rent  at  all  was  to 
be  exacted  from  them :  and  the  proprietor  never  deli- 
berately divested  himself  of  the  right  of  resuming, 

'  Those  who  wish  thoroughly  to  understand  the  spirit  and 
effects  of  the  eld  Highland  modes  of  dividing  and  cultivating 
the  soil,  and  the  consequences  of  the  violent  change  effected 
since  1745,  may  consult  the  work  of  Lord  Selkirk,  published 
in  1805,  entitled  "Observations  on  the  present  state  of  the 
Highlands  of  Scotland,  with  a  view  of  the  causes  and  probable 
consequences  of  Emigration;"  it  will  be  found  able,  interesting, 
and  instructive. 

Rents.  4i*t 

at   his    pleasure,    the   possession   of  the   allotments   Book  i. 
occupied  by  his   serfs;    though   usage  and  prescrip-    „*^'"' 

tion    permitted,   in    the  course  of  ages,  a  claim  to    

hereditary  occupation  on  their  part  to  establish  itself.  ^^^  • 
The  feudal  system,  with  its  scheme  of  military  ser-  Germany. 
vice,  and  nicely  graduated  scale  of  fealty  and  limited 
obedience,  never  made  much  way  to  the  east  of 
Prussia.  But  it  is  precisely  in  those  eastern  parts 
of  Europe,  that  labor  rents  have  prevailed  the  most 
widely  and  the  longest.  It  would  not  indeed  be 
difficult  to  shew,  were  this  the  place  for  it,  that 
the  multiplication  of  the  feudal  vassals  who  were 
freemen  by  virtue  of  their  tenure  and  their  swords, 
prevented  labor  rents  from  ever  prevailing  so  ex- 
clusively over  the  surface  of  western  Europe,  as 
they  have  always  prevailed,  and  do  now  prevail, 
over  its  eastern  division. 



Summary    of  Serf  Rents. 

We   have   observed   serf  rents,   in   the   different    ^°°k  ^• 
countries   in   which   tliey   still   prevail,    and   as   they    ggcfs 

have   been   variously  affected  by   time   and  circum-    

stances.  It  will  be  convenient,  perhaps  to  recall  in  ^^'"^  i^ents. 
a  short  summary  the  most  marked  features  common 
to  the  system  in  all  its  modifications,  and  to  collect 
into  one  view  the  general  principles  suggested  by 
the  facts  to  which  we  have  referred.  This  plan  we 
shall  pursue  with  the  other  divisions  of  peasant 
rents,  as  we  successively  arrive  at  them. 

48  Reittii. 

Dependence  of'  Wages  on  Rents. 

Book  I.  The   most   marked  feature    of  a  system  of  serf 

<^hap.  11.    j.gjj^g    ig  Qjjg  which  it  has  in  common  with  all  the 

Sect.  8. 

forms  of  peasant  rents ;  and  that  is,  the  strict  con- 

Dependence  nexion  it  crcates   between   the  waeres   of  labor  and 

of  Wages  .  ° 

on  Rents,  rcnts.  The  serfs  constitute  the  great  body  of  la- 
borers in  eastern  Europe.  The  real  wages  of  the 
serf,  the  wealth  he  annually  consumes,  depend  on 
what  he  is  able  to  extract  from  his  allotment  of 
land ;  and  this  again  depends,  partly  on  its  extent 
and  fertility,  partly  on  the  culture  he  is  able  to 
bestow  upon  it.  But  the  labor  he  can  exert  for 
his  own  purposes  is  limited  by  that  which  he  yields 
as  a  rent  to  his  landlord.  This  varies  of  course  in 
different  countries,  and  occasionally  from  time  to 
time  in  the  same  country,  sometimes  directly  and 
avowedly,  sometimes  indirectly  and  almost  insen- 
sibly. Thus  in  Hungary,  the  number  of  days  labor 
nominally  due  from  the  peasants  for  each  session 
of  land,  is  doubled  in  practice  by  the  commutation 
into  labor  of  many  other  dues,  all  trifling,  and  some 
very  indefinite.  In  most  places  too,  the  authority 
of  the  landlord  enables  him,  at  very  inadequate 
prices,  to  command,  in  addition  to  the  labor  for- 
mally due  to  him,  as  much  of  the  peasant's  time 
and  exertions  as  he  pleases.  Where  claims  upon 
his  time  are  thus  multiplied,  the  ground  of  the 
serf  must  be  imperfectly  tilled,  and  after  a  cer- 
tain point,  with  each  advance  in  the  exactions  of 
the  landlord,  the  produce  of  the  peasant's  allotment, 
his  real  wages,  must  become  less. 

Rents.  49 

To  understand,  then,   the  condition  of  the  serf  Book  i. 
laborers  and  the  causes  which  determine  the  actual   ^^'^^' "" 

Sect.  8. 

amount  of  their  wages,  a  detailed  account  is  neces-    

sary  of  their  contract  with  the  proprietors,  and  of 
the  manner  in  which  that  contract  is  practically 
interpreted  and  enforced.  This  active  influence  of 
the  nature  and  amount  of  the  rents  they  pay  on  the 
revenues  aiid  condition  of  the  labouring  class,  is 
one  of  the  most  important  effects  of  the  existence 
of  a  system  of  labor  rents.  We  shall  find  however 
the  same  effect,  produced  in  a  somewhat  different 
manner,  characterizing  peasant  rents  in  all  their 

Inefficiency  of  Agricultural  Labor. 

The  next  prominent  feature  of  a  system  of  labor 
or  serf  rents,  is  peculiar  to  that  form  of  tenancy ;  it 
is,  its  singular  effect  in  degrading  the  industrious 
habits  of  the  laborers,  and  making  them  inefficient 
instruments  of  cultivation. 

The  peasant  who  depends  for  his  food  upon  his 
labor  in  his  own  allotment  of  ground,  and  is  yet 
liable  to  be  called  away  at  the  discretion  and  con- 
venience of  another  person  to  work  upon  other  lands, 
in  the  produce  of  which  he  is  not  to  share,  is  natu- 
rally a  reluctant  laborer.  When  long  prescription  has 
engendered  a  feeling,  that  he  is  a  coproprietor,  at 
least,  in  the  spot  of  ground  which  he  occupies, 
then  this  reluctance  to  be  called  from  the  care  of 
it  to  perform  his  task  of  forced  labor  elsewhere, 
is  heightened  by  a  vague  sense  of  oppression,  and 
becomes  more  dogged  and  sullen.     From  such  men 


Sect.  8. 

50  Rents. 

Book  1.    who  havc  DO  iTiotive  for  exertion,  but   the  fear  of 
^P-"-    the   lash,    strenuous   labor    is   not    to    be  expected. 
Accordingly,    the    exceeding    worthlessness    of   serf 
labor  is  beginning   to  be   thoroughly  understood  in 
all  those  parts  of  Europe  in  which  it  prevails. 

The  Russians,   or  rather  those  German  writers 
who  have  observed  the  manners  and  habits  of  Russia, 
state  some  strong  facts  on  this  point.     Two  Middle- 
sex mowers,  they  say,  will  mow  in  a  day  as  much 
grass    as    six   Russian    serfs,    and   in    spite   of  the 
dearness  of  provisions  in  England,  and  their  cheap- 
ness in  Russia,  the  mowing  a  quantity  of  hay  which 
would   cost  an   English  farmer    half  a   copeck,   will 
cost   a   Russian  proprietor   three   or   four  copecks\ 
The  Prussian  counsellor  of  state  Jacob  is  considered 
to  have  proved,  that  in  Russia,  where  every  thing  is 
cheap,  the  labor  of  a  serf  is  doubly  as  expensive  as 
that  of  a  laborer  in  England^.     Mr.  Schmalz  gives 
a  startling  account  of  the  unproductiveness  of  serf 
labor  in  Prussia,  from   his   own  knowledge  and  ob- 
servation^.    In  Austria,  it  is  distinctly  stated,  that 
the  labor  of  a  serf  is  equal  to  only  one  third  of  that 
of  a  free  hired  laborer.     This  calculation,  made  in 
an   ^ble  work   on  Agriculture  (with  some  extracts 
from  which  I  have  been  favored),  is  applied  to  the 
practical   purpose    of  deciding    on    the   number   of 
laborers  necessary  to  cultivate  an  estate  of  a  given 
magnitude.      So  palpable  indeed  are  the*  ill  effects 

*  Schmalz,  Economic  Polit.     French  translation.  Vol.  I.  p.  66. 
«  Schmalz,  Vol.  II.  p.  103.  ^  Vol.  II.  p.  IO7. 

Rents.  51 

of  labor  rents  on  the  industry  of  the  agricultural    Book  i. 
population,   that   in   Austria  itself,  where  proposals    ggcfs 

for  changes   of  any  kind  do  not  readily  make  their    

way,  schemes  and  plans  for  the  commutation  of  labor 
rents  are  as  popular  as  in  the  more  stirring  German 
provinces  of  the  north. 

Labor  rents  have  another  bad  effect  on  the  na- 
tional industry :  the  indolence  and  carelessness  of 
the  serfs  are  apt  to  corrupt  the  free  laborers  who 
may  come  in  contact  with  them.  "The  existence 
of  forced  labor,"  says  Schmalz,  who  lived  in  the 
midst  of  it,  "habituates  men  to  indolence;  every 
"where  the  work  done  by  forced  labor  is  ill  done: 
"  wherever  it  prevails,  day  laborers  and  even  domes- 
"tic  servants  perform  their  work  ill\"  A  striking 
example  of  the  mischievous  influence  of  the  habits 
formed  by  these  labor  rents,  occurred  lately  in  the 
north  of  Germany.  A  new  road  is  at  this  time 
making,  which  is  to  connect  Hamburgh  and  the 
Elbe,  with  Berlin ;  it  passes  over  the  sterile  sands 
of  which  so  much  of  the  north  of  Germany  consists, 
and  the  materials  for  it  are  supplied  by  those  iso- 
lated blocks  of  granite,  of  which  the  presence  on 
the  surface  of  those  sands  forms  a  notorious  geolo- 
gical puzzle.  These  blocks,  transported  to  the  line 
of  road,  are  broken  to  the  proper  size  by  workmen, 
some  of  whom  are  Prussian  free  laborers,  others  lei- 
beigeners  of  the  Mecklenburg  territory,  through  a 
part  of  which  the  road  passes.      They  are  paid  a 

*  Schmalz,  Vol.  II.  p.  107. 

5a  Rents. 

Book  I.    stipulated  sum  for  breaking  a  certain  quantity,  and 
^'   ■    all  are  paid  alike.     Yet  the  leibeigeners  could  not 

at  first  be  prevailed  upon  to  break  more  than  one 

third  of  the  quantity  which  formed  the  ordinary 
task  of  the  Prussians.  The  men  were  mixed,  in 
the  hope  that  the  example  and  the  gains  of  the 
more  industrious,  would  animate  the  sluggish.  A 
contrary  effect  followed ;  the  leibeigeners  did  not 
improve,  but  the  exertions  of  the  other  laborers  sen- 
sibly slackened,  and  at  the  time  my  informant  (the 
English  engineer  who  superintended  the  road)  was 
speaking  to  me,  the  men  were  again  at  work  in 
separate  gangs,  carefully  kept  asunder. 

In  Prussia,  before  1811,  two  thirds  of  the  whole 
population  consisted  of  leibeigeners,  or  of  an  enslaved 
serf  tenantry,  in  a  yet  more  backward  stated  In 
other  parts  of  eastern  and  northern  Europe,  similar 
classes  compose  a  yet  larger  proportion  of  the  peo- 
ple. Upon  their  hands,  either  as  principals,  or  as 
the  most  essential  instruments,  rests  the  task  of 
making  the  soil  productive,  the  only  species  of 
industry  yet  carried  on  to  any  great  extent.  The 
inefficiency  of  this  large  portion  of  the  productive 
laborers  of  the  community,  their  dislike  to  steady 
exertions  when  working  for  others,  their  want  of 
skill,  means,  and  energy,  when  employed  on  their 
own  allotments,  must  have  a  disastrous  influence  on 
the  annual  produce  of  the  land  and  labor  of  their 
territory,  and  tend  to  keep  their  country  in  a  state 

'  Jacob's  Germany,  p.  235. 

Rents.  53 

of  comparative  poverty  and  political  feebleness ;  which  Book  i. 

great   extent,   and   the    cheapness    of  human    labor  g^^g/ 

and  life  for  military  purposes,    have  only  partially  


Inefficient  Superintendence  of  Ijahor. 

The  next  peculiarity  of  a  system  of  labor  rents 
very  considerably  aggravates  the  bad  effects  of  that 
inefficiency,  which  seems  the  inseparable  character- 
istic of  the  labor  of  serfs.  This  peculiarity  is  the 
lax  superintendence,  the  imperfect  assistance  of  the 
landed  proprietors ;  who  are  necessarily,  in  their  cha- 
racter of  cultivators  of  their  own  domains,  the  only 
guides  and  directors  of  the  industry  of  the  agri- 
cultural population. 

The  Russian,  Polish,  Hungarian,  or  German 
nobles,  elevated,  when  not  corrupted,  by  the  privi- 
leges and  habits  of  their  order,  have  seldom  incli- 
nation to  bestow  attention  on  the  detail  of  the  labors 
of  husbandry ;  and  perhaps  yet  more  seldom  the 
means  of  saving  capital  and  using  it^.  Seed  pro- 
duced from  the  estate  is  sown  by  the  labor  of 
the  tenants,  who  in  due  time  gather  the  harvest 
into  the  barns  of  the  proprietor.  This  process  is 
repeated    in    a    slovenly   manner,  till    the    land    is 

^  The  Russian  government,  hoping  to  remedy  this  last 
defect,  established  a  bank  for  the  express  purpose  of  advancing 
loans  to  the  nobles  to  be  employed  in  improving  the  cultivation 
of  their  estates.  The  experiment  did  not  succeed.  The  nobles 
vsrere  observed  to  grow  suddenly  more  expensive,  but  their 
estates  remained  as  they  were.     Storch,  Vol.  IV.  p.  288. 

54  Rents. 

Book  I.    exceedingly  impoverished  \  and    is   continued  while 
^Jg"    there  is  a   prospect   of  the   smallest   gain.      These 

operations  are   contrived    and    directed   as  clumsily 

and  negligently  as  they  are  executed. 

There  are  exceptions  no  doubt ;  a  few  indivi- 
dual proprietors  devote  themselves  with  zeal  to 
the  improvement  of  agriculture.  This  may  always 
be  expected.  When  a  similar  race  of  tenantry 
occupied  England,  Robert  de  Rulos,  the  chamber- 
lain of  the  Conqueror,  distinguished  himself  by  im- 
provements which  he  introduced  upon  his  estates, 
of  sufficient  consequence  to  induce  the  historians 
of  the  age  to  hand  down  his  name  to  posterity, 
as  a  public  benefactor.  On  looking  now  at  the 
different  countries  of  eastern  Europe,  we  shall  find 
a  sprinkling  of  men  who  are  the  Robert  de  Rulos' 
of  their  day ;  but  it  would  be  hopeless  and  irrational 
to  expect,  that  a  race  of  noble  proprietors,  fenced 
round  with  privileges  and  dignity,  and  attracted 
to  military  and  political  pursuits  by  the  advantages 
and  habits  of  their  station,  should  ever  become  atten- 
tive cultivators  as  a  body. 

There  remains  for  them  the  expedient  of  edu- 
cating and  employing  able  and  scientific  managers, 
and  on  a  few  of  the  large  estates,  belonging  to  rich 
proprietors,  this  is  very  carefully  and  well  done.  But 
the  training  and  employing  such  a  class  of  men, 
is  first  very  expensive,  and  is  then  nearly  useless 
unless  they  can  be   supplied   freely  with   capital    as 

'  Jacob's  First  Report. 

Rents.  55 

the    means   of   carrying    into    effect    the    improved   Book  i. 
systems  which  they  have  been  taught.      These  cir-    g^Xs. 

cumstances    confine    to    narrow  limits    the  number    

of  estates  conducted  by  such  a  description  of  mana- 
gers; and  taking  large  districts  only  into  account, 
the  paucity  of  mind  and  skill,  steadily  applied  to 
agriculture,  and  the  poor  use  which  is  made  of 
the  reluctant  labor  of  the  peasantry,  furnish  another 
striking  feature  of  the  system  of  cultivation  by  a 
serf  tenantry. 

Small  numbers  of  independent  Classes. 

The  two  circumstances  just  pointed  out,  the 
indolence  of  the  laborers,  and  the  inefficiency  of  the 
directors  of  labor,  are  causes  which  make  the  agri- 
cultural produce  of  countries  cultivated  by  serfs, 
extremely  small  when  compared  with  their  extent. 
It  follows  that,  even  where  the  whole  of  the  raw 
produce  raised  is  consumed  at  home  (which  from 
other  causes  it  rarely  is),  still,  after  the  peasantry 
have  been  fed,  the  numbers  of  the  non-agricultural 
classes  maintained,  are  small. 

We  have  seen  that  in  Prussia  two  thirds  of 
the  whole  population  were  bauers :  in  other  parts 
of  the  east  of  Europe,  the  numbers  of  the  classes 
not  connected  with  agriculture  are  yet  smaller,  com- 
pared with  the  extent  of  their  territory,  or  the  gross 
amount  of  their  population.  In  Hungary,  we  have 
observed  that  there  were  but  thirty  thousand  arti- 
zans  when  there  were  eight  millions  of  inhabitants, 
and  no  where  does  the  number  of  the  class  which 
is  unconnected  with  the  soil  reach  the  size  at  which 

56  Rents. 

Book  I.    it    may  be  observed   in  countries    cultivated   under 
Sect  s"    better  systems. 

Authority  of  Laiidlords  over  Tenants. 

Another  marked  and  important  effect  of  a  system 
of  labor  rents,  is  the  constant  coercion  which  is  ne- 
cessary to  make  it  to  any  extent  efficient,  and  the 
arbitrary  authority  this  circumstance  throws  into  the 
hands  of  the  landlords,  under  any  possible  modifica- 
tions of  the  tenure.  We  have  seen  that  at  one  stage 
of  their  progress  throughout  Europe,  the  serfs  have 
almost  universally  been  at  one  time  actual  slaves. 
This  extreme  state  of  things  has  indeed  changed, 
except  in  Russia  alone.  But  the  authority  of  the 
proprietors  over  the  serfs,  exercised  through  the  me- 
dium of  judicial  tribunals,  in  which  the  nobles  are 
the  judges,  has  not  ceased  to  be  extremely  arbi- 
trary. While  the  system  of  labor  rents  exists  to 
any  practical  purpose,  this  can  hardly  be  otherwise. 
While  large  domains  are  cultivated  by  agricultural 
labor,  due  from  a  numerous  tenantry,  the  necessary 
work  must  be  delayed,  embarrassed,  and  frequently 
altogether  suspended,  if  a  law-suit  before  independent 
tribunals  were  the  only  mode  of  settling  a  dispute 
with  a  reluctant  or  refractory  laborer.^     Hence  the 

^  See  Jacob's  Germany,  p.  342,  tor  an  instance  of  the 
manner  in  which  the  rights  of  the  proprietors  are  frustrated 
when  they  are  by  chance  driven  to  the  tribunals.  The  Saxon 
courts  of  justice  seem  to  be  actuated,  when  they  have  an  oppor- 
tunity to  interfere  between  proprietor  and  tenant,  by  the  same 
bias  towards  freedom  which  did  honor  to  those  of  England,  and 
seem  too  to  approach  their  object  with  much  of  the  astuteness 
which  suggested  some  of  our  own  legal  proceedings. 

Rents.  57 

judicial  power  has  rarely,  if  ever,  been  abandoned  by    Book  r. 
the  proprietors,  even  where  the  personal  freedom  of  ^Xs* 

the  serf  has  been  recognized.     The  Hungarian  noble    

still  exercises  criminal  and  civil  jurisdiction  by  his 
officers.  Even  in  Germany,  where  the  authority 
of  the  general  government  has  made  more  way, 
and  where  the  system  of  labor  rents  is  in  a  m.ore 
advanced  stage  of  decomposition,  the  whole  country 
till  very  recently  was  covered  by  domainial  tribu- 
nals, which  were  at  one  time  divided  and  multi- 
plied- to  such  excess,  that  the  jurisdiction  of  some 
of  them  is  said  to  have  comprehended  only  a  dwell- 
ing-house, and  as  much  ground  as  is  found  within 
the  line  marked  by  the  water-drip  from  the  eaves.* 
On  the  estates  of  the  sovereign  and  of  large  pro- 
prietors, this  authority  is  usually  administered  by 
the  Amtmen,  who,  either  as  tenants  or  stewards, 
have  charge  of  the  domain. 

In  the  west  of  Europe,  as  in  France  for  instance, 
the  pride  of  the  nobility,  and  the  connivance  or 
indolence  of  the  government,  kept  these  tribunals 
in  existence,  long  after  the  altered  relations  of  the 
cultivators  and  their  landlords  had  made  them  use- 
less :  but  in  the  east  of  Europe  it  would  really  be 
difficult  to  dispense  with  them :  and  where  the 
sovereigns  are  alive  to  the  inconvenience   of  these 

*  Hodgskin,  Vol.  II.  p.  6.  In  Hanover,  some  of  these  minute 
patrimonial  courts  have  been  abolished;  but  there  are  still,  or 
were,  so  late  as  18 19,  no  less  than  l60  local  tribunals  on  the 
royal  domain,  besides  all  those  belonging  to  individual  pro- 
prietors and  to  towns. 

58  Rents. 

Book  I.    petty    tribunals    (which    they    do   not   seem    always 
^sTa  a"'   *®  ^^)'    *^^y  ^^^^  hardly  venture   on  depriving  the 

1_    proprietors    of    all    summary    authority    over    their 

tenantry,  while  any  considerable  portion  of  their 
territory  is  made  productive  by  the  use  of  labor 
rents  alone.  So  naturally  does  the  usefulness  of 
this  jurisdiction  of  the  proprietors  accompany  the 
existence  of  labor  rents,  that  I  perceive  by  the 
public  papers,  in  some  parts  of  the  Danish  domi- 
nions, where  a  general  commutation  of  these  rents 
has  taken  place,  the  proprietors  have  made  a  volun- 
tary offer  to  the  crown  of  abandoning  their  judicial 
authority  altogether. 

The  serf,  however,  who  is  liable  to  have  claims 
upon  his  time  and  labor  interpreted,  and  summarily 
enforced,  by  the  person  who  makes  those  claims, 
can  never  be  more  than  half  a  freeman,  even  when 
he  has  ceased  to  be  wholly  a  slave. 

The  Power  and  Influence  of  the  Aristocracy. 

The  subjection  of  the  serfs  to  the  proprietors, 
under  all  the  modifications  of  their  tenure,  throws 
inevitably  great  power  and  influence  into  the  hands 
of  the  landed  body.  The  landholders  themselves 
may  enjoy  very  different  measures  of  political  free- 
dom. We  may  observe  them,  wholly  unawed  by 
the  crown,  exercising  the  wild  licence  of  the  Polish 
nobility ;  or,  when  united  with  other  states  under 
a  powerful  sovereign,  as  in  the  case  of  Hungary, 
still  able  to  maintain  the  privileges  of  their  order 
with  a  degree  of  independence  which  the  govern- 
ment feels  it  would  be  impolitic  to  provoke,  even 

Rents.  59 

though   it  were   possible    to    overwhelm   it :    or    we    ^"^"^  \\ 
may  see  them,  as  in  Russia,  so  circumstanced,  that    scct.  8. 

legal  bounds    to    the   power   of    the    sovereign    are    

unthought  of.  Still  in  all  these  different  cases 
the  power  of  the  aristocracy  over  the  mass  of  the 
people  creates  a  moral  influence,  which  must  be 
felt  by  the  general  government,  and,  if  not  obeyed, 
must  to  some  extent  be  attended  to.  From  this 
influence,  even  the  absolute  government  of  the  Rus- 
sian Emperor  receives  an  unacknowledged  but  power- 
ful check,  sufficient  to  distinguish  it  from  an  Asiatic 
despotism,  to  ensure  a  wholesome  dominion  to  forms 
and  usages,  and  to  prescribe  decency  and  limits  even 
to  caprice  and  injustice.  Amidst  the  mischiefs  in- 
cident to  this  mode  of  occupying  the  soil,  this 
political  effect  must  be  distinguished  as  being,  when 
reacting  on  a  strong  general  government,  the  source 
of  benefits  to  the  people  which  are  important  though 
imperfect.  It  has  for  many  centuries  staved  off  un- 
limited despotism  from  a  large  portion  of  Europe. 

As  the  general  government  becomes  feeble,  the 
influence  of  such  an  aristocracy  may  be  expected  of 
course  to  shew  itself  more  active  and  dominant ; 
and  then  there  are  doubtless  instances  of  its  assum- 
ing the  form  of  a  national  evil. 

Want  of  Popular  Injluence   in   the  Political 
Constitution  of  such  Countries. 

The  small  numbers  and  small  importance  of  the 
classes  who  are  independent  of  the  soil,  the  absence 
on  the  soil  itself  of  any  class  like  our  farmers,  the 

60  Reyits. 

Book  I.    abject   dependence  of  the   serfs  on    the   proprietors. 
Chap.  n.   j^j^j^g  ^      ^^jjj  influence  of  a  third  estate  in  the  con- 

Sect.  8.  •' 

stitution   of   countries   in   which   labor   rents  prevail 

utterly  nugatory.  The  government  of  such  coun- 
tries must  be  shared  by  the  sovereign  and  the  aris- 
tocracy :  it  may  be  shared  very  unequally ;  they  may 
control  each  other  in  different  degrees ;  but  on  their 
joint  authority  alone  the  public  power  must  rest. 
Tracing  back  the  history  of  our  own  country  we 
observe,  that  while  a  similar  system  prevailed  in 
England,  the  absence  of  any  efficient  third  estate, 
made  our  government  a  rude  mixture-  of  monarchy 
and  a  landed  aristocracy,  struggling  fiercely,  and 
each  threatening  to  extinguish  the  other  in  its  turn. 
It  is  the  very  same  want  of  a  third  estate,  which 
makes  it  so  difficult  to  establish  in  many  continental 
nations,  those  imitations  of  the  actual  English  Con- 
stitution, which  we  have  seen  of  late  frequently  at- 
tempted. Before  the  people  of  eastern  Europe 
can  have  governments,  of  which  the  springs  and 
weights  really  resemble  those  of  the  English,  a 
space  of  time  must  elapse  sufficient  to  introduce 
very  different  ingredients  into  their  social  elements. 
Till  then,  we  may  expect  to  see  yet  more  well- 
meant  attempts  of  sovereigns  and  nobles  end  in 
disappointment.  And  when  society  has  undergone 
the  necessary  change,  serf  rents,  we  may  venture 
to  predict,  will  have  been  superseded,  and  will  liave 
ceased  to  exist:  except  perhaps  in  some  obsolete 
shapes  and  names,  from  which,  as  in  the  case  of 
the  copyholds  of  England,  all  life  and  power  have 

Remits.  61 

JVhat  determines  the  Amount  of  Labor  Rents. 

The  value  of  serf  or  labor  rents,  the  advantages 
which  the  proprietor  derives  from  the  lands  allotted 
to  the  serfs,  depend  partly  upon  the  quantity  of 
labor  exacted,  and  partly  upon  the  skill  used  in  ap- 
plying it.  The  proprietor,  therefore,  may  increase 
the  rent  of  the  land  held  by  his  serfs,  either  by 
exacting  more  labor  from  them,  or  by  using  their 
labor    more  efficiently. 

If  more  labor  is  exacted  from  the  serf,  he  is 
in  fact  thrust  farther  downwards  in  the  scale  of 
comfort  and  respectability ;  his  exertions  become 
more  reluctant,  more  languid,  and  inefficient;  the 
proprietor  gains  little  by  his  increased  services;  the 
community  gains  nothing  by  the  rise  of  rents;  for 
if  the  lands  held  by  the  proprietors  be  better  tilled 
by  the  additional  culture  bestowed  upon  them,  those 
held  by  the  serfs  must  be  worse  tilled  when  labor 
is  withdrawn  from  them.  The  second  mode  of  in- 
creasing the  rents  of  the  lands  held  by  the  serfs, 
the  using  the  labor  of  the  tenantry  more  skilfully 
and  efficiently,  is  attended  by  no  disadvantages. 
It  leads  to  an  unquestionable  augmentation  of  the 
revenues  of  the  nation.  The  lands  held  by  the 
proprietors  produce  more,  those  held  by  the  serfs 
do  not  produce  less.  But  the  unfitness  of  the  pro- 
prietors, as  a  body,  to  advance  the  science  of  agri- 
culture, or  improve  the  conduct  of  its  details,  makes 
this  mode  of  increasing  the  rents  derived  from  the 
lands  which  the  serfs  hold,  rare.  It  would  be 
visionary    to    count   upon  it   as   the   source   of  any 

Book  I. 
Chap.  ii. 
Sect.  8. 

Book  1. 
Chap.  ii. 
Sect.  8.       class 

62  Rents. 

general   improveinent  in  the  revenues  of  the  landed 

A  cJumge  from  Lahor  Rents  to  Produce  Rents- 
always  desirable. 

The  illusory  nature  of  all  attempts  to  increase 
labor  rents   by  exacting  more  and  more  labor  from 
the    serfs,    and    the  repugnance    of   the    proprietors, 
as  a  body,   to   the  task   of  increasing   their  revenue 
by  the  better  application  of  the  labor  due  to  them, 
make  us  conclude  that   the  substitution   of  produce 
or  money  rents  is  the   only   step   by  which  the  in- 
terests of  the  landlords  of  serfs  can  be  substantially 
and  permanently  promoted.      It  is  impossible  to  cast 
an   eye  on  what   is   passing   in   the  east   of  Europe 
without  seeing  how  deeply  this  is  felt   by  the  pro- 
prietors themselves.    The  irksomeness  of  the  task  of 
superintending    the    operations    of   agriculture,    the 
uncertainty    of  their   returns,  and   the    burthensome 
nature  of  their  connexion  with  their  tenantry,  make 
them  every  where  anxious  for  a  change.     To  these 
motives  we  must  add  first,  the  gradual  increase  in 
some  districts  of  the  prescriptive  rights  of  the  serfs  to 
the  hereditary  possession  of  their  allotments  ;   wliich 
makes  them  more  unmanageable  and  less  profitable 
tenants ;  and  then  the  example  of  western  Kurope, 
with   which    the   proprietors   of  its   eastern    division 
are    familiarly    acquainted ;   and    which    presents    to 
them   a  race  of  landlords  freed  from  almost  all  the 
vexations   and  embarrassments  with   wliich   the  ma- 
nagement of  their  own   estates  is  encumbered.      In 

Rents.  63 

the  desire  of  the  proprietors  for  a  change,  the  go-    i^ook  i. 
vernments  have  joined  heartily.     A  wish  to  extend    sect!8" 

the  authority  and  protection  of  the  general  govern-    

ment  over  the  mass  of  cultivators,  and  to  increase 
their  efficiency,  and  through  that  the  wealth  and 
financial  resources  of  the  state,  has  led  the  different 
sovereigns  always  to  co-operate,  and  often  to  take 
the  lead,  in  putting  an  end  to  the  personal  de- 
pendence of  the  serf,  and  modifying  the  terms  of 
his  tenure.  To  these  reasons  of  the  sovereigns  and 
landlords,  dictated  hy  obvious  self-interest,  we  must 
add  other  motives  which  do  honor  to  their  characters 
and  to  the  age,  the  existence  of  which  it  would  be 
a  mere  affectation  of  hard-hearted  wisdom  to  doubt ; 
namely,  a  paternal  desire  on  the  part  of  sovereigns 
to  elevate  the  condition,  and  increase  the  comforts, 
of  the  most  numerous  class  of  the  human  beings 
committed  to  their  charge ;  and  a  philanthropic 
dislike  on  the  part  of  the  proprietors  to  be  sur- 
rounded by  a  race  of  wretched  dependents,  whose 
degradation  and  misery  reflect  discredit  on  them- 
selves. These  feelings  have  produced  the  ferment- 
ation on  the  subject  of  labor  rents,  which  is  at 
this  moment  working  throughout  the  large  divi- 
sion of  Europe  in  which  they  prevail. —  From  the 
crown  lands  in  Russia,  through  Poland  S  Hungary, 

^  In  the  work  (several  times  before  quoted)  of  Mr.  Burnett, 
of  Baliol  College,  Oxford,  entitled  "  A  View  of  the  present  State 
of  Poland,"  the  reader  will  find  some  curious  details  of  the  state 
of  loathsome  moral  degradation  to  which  the  Polish  peasants  are 
reduced.  The  author  was  for  some  time  private  tutor  in  a 
Polish  family. 

64  Rents. 

BooKi.    and    Germany,    there    have    been    within    the    last 
Secr«!     century,    or   are    now,    plans  and    schemes    on   foot, 

either    at    once    or    gradually    to    get     rid    of    the 

tenure,    or    greatly   to  modify  its    effects,    and    im- 
prove its   character ;  and  if  the   wishes,  or   the   au- 
thority,  of  the    state,    or   of  the   proprietors,   could 
abolish   the   system   and   substitute   a   better    in    its 
plaice,  it   would    vanish   from    the   face    of  Europe. 
The  actual  poverty  of  the   serfs,  however,  and  the 
degradation  of  their   habits  of  industry,  present   an 
insurmountable     obstacle    to     any    general    change 
which  is  to  be  complete  and  sudden.     In  their  im- 
perfect civilization  and  half  savage  carelessness,  the 
necessity  originated  which  forced  proprietors  them- 
selves to  raise,  the  produce  on  which  their  families 
were  to  subsist.    That  necessity  has  not  ceased ;  the 
tenantry   are   not   yet   ripe — in  some   instances,   not 
riper   than   they  were   1000   years   ago — to  be    en- 
trusted with  the  responsibility  of  raising   and  pay- 
ing produce  rents.     But  as   the  past  progress  and 
actual  circumstances  of  different  districts  are  found 
unlike,  so  their  capacity  for  present  change  differs 
in  kind  and   degree.     Hence   the   great  variety   ob- 
servable in  plans  for  altering  the  relations  between 
the  serf  tenantry  and  their  landlords.     Such   a  va- 
riety is  exhibited  in   the  Urbarium  of  Maria  The- 
resa,   in    the    edict     by    which    the    views    of    the 
Livonian    nobility    were   made    law ;  in    the    consti- 
tution    of    Poland,    and     in     the     decrees     of    the 
sovereigns    of  smaller    districts.     The    ameliorations 
produced  by  these  steps  are  valuable,  if,  after  having 
worked  successfully  for  some  time,  they  prepare  the 


Rents.  Q6 

way  for  two  great  measures  which  are  the  aim  of  booki. 
all  parties  in  a  more  advanced  state  of  society,  gect.  s. 
that  is,  first,  the  general  v;ommutation  of  the  re- 
venue derived  from  the  allotments  of  tlie  serfs  into 
produce  rents,  and  then,  the  establishment  on  the 
domains  held  by  the  proprietors  themselves  of  a 
race  of  tenantry  able  to  relieve  them  from  the 
task  of  cultivation,  and  to  pay  either  produce  or 
money  rents.  But  these  results  are  difficult  and 
distant.  The  manner  in  which  such  a  change  was 
effected  in  England,  is  that  in  which  it  is  most 
easy  and  safe.  It  was  the  growth  of  centuries ;  it 
took  place  insensibly :  the  villeins  we  know  gradually 
assumed  the  character  of  copyholders  paying  fixed 
dues,  which  again  were  slowly  commuted  for  money : 
in  the  mean  time,  the  growth  of  the  free  popula- 
tion multiplied  the  numbers  of  hired  laborers,  by 
whose  assistance  the  proprietors  might  cultivate  their 
domains,  without  serf  labor ;  and  the  increase  and 
progressive  prosperity  of  an  intermediate  class  of 
agricultural  capitalists  supplied,  after  a  long  inter- 
val, a  race  of  men  fitted  to  relieve  the  proprietors 
from  the  charge  of  agriculture  altogether,  and  en- 
abled to  pay  their  rents  in  money  from  the  increase 
of  internal  commerce,  and  of  the  market  provided 
by  non-agricultural  classes  for  their  produce.  A 
process  similar  to  this  has  been  going  on  in  the 
western  part  of  Germany,  though  it  is  yet  far  in- 
deed from  being  complete  there.  The  enslaved  serf 
has  become  a  free  Leibeigener  with  fixed  services  : 
the  Leibeigener  is  changing  gradually  into  a  meyer, 
whose  services  are  commuted  for  produce  or  money ; 



66  RenU. 

Book  I.  some  fcw^  free  laborers  exist,  and  are  hired  by  the 
s^cus!  proprietors  who  farm  their  domains;  and  of  these 
domains  a  new  race  of  tenantry  are  in  some  in- 
stances beginning  to  take  possession,  advancing  the 
necessary  capital,  paying  money  rents,  and  discharg- 
ing the  land-owners  from  all  share  in  the  task  of 

In  the  mean  time,  it  is  not  surprising  that  the 
sovereigns  and  proprietors  of  countries  further  east, 
who  see  this  process  hardly  begun  amongst  them- 
selves, and  know  that  it  may  take  centuries  to 
complete  itself,  should  feel  impatient  of  such  delay 
in  the  career  of  their  improvement,  and  determine 
forcibly  to  anticipate  the  slow  advance  of  unpur- 
posed change. 

The  Prussian  government  has  taken  the  most 
decisive  and  extensive  measures  in  this  spirit. 
Throughout  a  great  part  of  Prussia,  the  serfs  had 
acquired  prescriptive  rights,  either  to  the  hereditary 
possession  of  their  allotments,  or  to  the  occupation 
of  them  for  life ;  rights,  which  though  imperfect, 
made  any  marked  change  difficult.  To  declare  the 
serfs  mere  tenants  at  will,  would  have  had  the  ap- 
pearance of  great  harshness,  and  could  not  probably 
have  been  attempted  on  a  large  scale,  without  vio- 
lence and  convulsion.  To  declare  them  proprietors 
of  the  soil  they  occupied,  was  not  doing  justice  to 
the  fair  claims  of  the  landowners.  The  government 
steered  a  middle  course.  In  1811  labor  rents  to  the 
east  of  the   Elbe   were   suppressed,  and   it   was   de- 

'   Tiiey  are  very  few. 

Rents.  67 

cided,  that  the  peasants  who  had  acquired  an  here-    ^^^'^  ^• 
ditary   right    to    their    allotments    should   pay    the    sect.  8. 

proprietors  a  third  of  the  produce :  that  those  who     

had  only  a  claim  to  a  lifehold  possession  should  pay     i^^nts. 
half  the   produce :    the   peasants   were   to   find    all 
capital  and  to  pay  all  expences  and  taxes^. 

These  rents  are  heavy :  half  the  produce,  the 
tenants  providing  capital  and  paying  all  expences, 
is  the  heaviest  rent  known  in  Europe,  with  the 
exception  of  those  paid  by  the  Neapolitan  metayers, 
whose  soil  will  bear  no  comparison  with  the  Prussian 
sands,  and  is  in  fact  unrivalled  for  productiveness 
and  easy  tillage.  It  is  not  surprising  that  some 
of  the  serfs  should  have  declined  to  accede  to  the 
arrangement,  although  it  delivered  them  from  a  state 
of  virtual^  bondage,  and  guaranteed  their  right  to 

Two  great  objects  were  sought  by  this  arrange- 
ment ;  the  improvement  of  the  condition  of  the 
peasantry,  and  the  promotion-  of  good  agriculture 
among  the  proprietors.  Its  immediate  effects  have 
been  to  divide  the  surface  of  the  country  between 
a  race  of  small  proprietors  subject  to  a  heavy  rent 
charge,   and   a   body   of  large   landholders    farming 

2  Different  statements  have  been  published  as  to  the  terms  of 
this  general  commutation.  Schmalz,  however,  who  was  "  con- 
seiller  intime "  of  the  King  of  Prussia,  and  Professor  "  du  droit 
public"  at  Berlin,  must  be  considered  unquestionable  authority. 
Schmalz,  Vol.  II.  p.  105. 

3  Personal  bondage  had  legally  ceased  to  exist  from  the  10th 
November,   1810.     Schmalz,  Vol.  II.  p.  103. 

E  2 

68  Reyits. 

Book  I 
Chap.  ii. 

their  own  domains.     That  the  condition  of  the  pea- 
Sect  8.     sants  will  be  at  first  improved,  supposing  them  not 

to   be    weighed    down    by    the    rents,  is    sufficiently 

Rents,  clear;  their  future  progress,  however,  justifies  some 
apprehensions :  they  are  exactly  in  the  condition  in 
which  the  animal  disposition^  to  increase  their  num- 
bers is  checked  by  the  fewest  of  those  balancing 
motives  and  desires  which  regulate  the  increase  of 
superior  ranks  or  of  more  civilized  people,  and  if 
the  too  great  subdivision  of  their  allotments  is  not 
guarded  against  in  time,  they  will  probably,  in  the 
course  of  a  very  few  generations^  be  more  miserable 
than  their  ancestors  were  as  serfs,  and  will  certainly 
be  more  hopeless  and  helpless  in  their  misery,  since 
they  will  have  no  landlord  to  resort  to.  In  the  mean 
time  a  race  of  free  laborers  will  doubtless  spring 
up,  with  whose  assistance  the  proprietors  may  insti- 
tute a  better  course  of  husbandry  on  their  domains, 
but  they  will  still  have  to  provide  capital,  atten- 
tion, and  science,  and  in  the  two  first  of  these  it 
is  to  be  feared  that,  as  a  body,  they  will  always 
be  deficient.  More  advances  must  be  made  by 
them  in  money  than  when  they  cultivated  with 
the  assistance  of  their  serfs,  and  this  circumstance 
will  increase  their  difficulties  and  multiply  the 
chances  of  their  failure.  After  all,  the  task  of  cul- 
tivation is  ungenial  to  them.  Their  objects  will 
never  be  fully  attained  till   a  race  of  tenantry  ap- 

*  The  actual  disposition  of  the  population  to  increase  with 
extreme  rapidity  shews  that  these  apprehensions  are  far  from 
fanciful.     See  Jacob's  Second  Report. 

Rents  69 

pears,    able    to   advance   the   necessary  capital  and    ^'^^  '• 
undertake  for  a  money  rent.     These  are  likely  to     seXc" 

appear  slowly  in  Prussia,  even  though  they  should    

appear  there  much  less  slowly  than  in  some  of  the  ]^^, 
surrounding  nations.  The  body  of  the  peasants,  it  is 
tolerably  evident  already,  will  not  grow  rich  enough  to 
supply  them,  and  they  must  spring  out  of  the  bosom 
of  other  classes.  The  comparative  numbers,  and 
therefore  joint  wealth  of  these,  are  small,  and  the 
process,  by  which  they  can  become  the  farmers  of 
all  the  domains  of  an  extensive  country,  must  be 
slow  indeed. 

In  the  mean  time,  there  will  be  great  differences 
in  this  respect  between  different  parts  of  Germany. 
Amtmen,  who  occupy  the  land,  not  as  agents,  but 
tenants,  are  already  common  in  some  states :  in 
others  almost  unknown.  Those  districts  of  course 
will  profit  the  most  rapidly  and  largely  by  the  late 
changes,  w^hich  were  approaching  themselves  to  the 
condition  in  which  they  are  now  placed,  and  were 
provided  with  some  of  the  elements  of  a  new  and 
better  state  of  things.  Those  in  which  the  actual 
changes  were  prepared  by  no  spontaneous  advances, 
will  for  some  time  disappoint,  it  is  to  be  feared, 
in  a  great  degree,  the  benevolent  impatience  of 
those  statesmen,  who  wished  to  speed  them  forcibly 
in  paths  of  improvement,  which  they  are  not  full 
grown  and  strong  enough  to  tread  steadily. 

Leaving  however  individual  instances,  and  sur- 
veying the  whole  broad  mass  of  labor  rents  through- 
out that  larger  division  of  Europe  in  which  they 
still  preponderate,  either  entire,  or  in  different  stages 

70  Rents. 

^<~'  \    of  decomposition,  it  will  be  sufficiently  obvious,  that 
secr«!    some    ages  must  elapse,  before  those  new  elements 

of   society    are    perfected,  and   that    better    state    of 

Rent's,  things  matured,  in  which  this  mode  of  tenure  is 
destined  finally  to  merge.  For  a  long  and  in- 
definite period  now  before  us,  therefore,  the  ancient 
system  of  serf  rents,  modified  in  its  forms,  but 
enduring  in  its  effects,  will  imprint  much  of  their 
character  on  those  imperfect  institutions  which  are 
slowly  springing  up  from  its  decay.  The  future 
progress  of  eastern  Europe,  the  sources  of  its 
wealth,  and  strength,  and  all  the  elements  of  its 
social  and  political  institutions,  will  continue  to  be 
mainly  influenced  by  the  results  of  the  gradual 
alterations  now  taking  place  in  those  relations  be- 
tween the  proprietors  and  cultivators  of  the  soil, 
which  have  hitherto  formed  the  rude  bond  by  which 
society  has  been  held  together.  The  progress,  how- 
ever, of  this,  the  larger  part  of  the  most  important 
division  of  the  globe,  must  for  some  generations 
be  a  spectacle  of  deep  interest  to  us,  to  their  im- 
mediate western  neighbours,  and  to  all  the  nations, 
in  fact,  who  have  hitherto  kept  the  lead  in  the 
career  of  European  civilization.  We  see  the  masses 
of  people  who  occupy  the  eastern  and  northern  divi- 
sion of  our  quarter  of  the  earth,  stirring  and  instinct 
wdth  a  new  spirit  of  life  and  power,  beginning  to 
acquire  fresh  intellect  and  a  less  shackled  industry, 
and  to  unfold  more  efficiently  the  moral  and  physi- 
cal capabilities  of  their  huge  territories.  They  already 
assume  a  station  in  Europe  somewhat  proportioned 
to  the  extent   of  their  natural   resources ;    and   the 

Rents.  71 

fate  of  those  nations  which  have  hitherto  been  the     ®°°* }; 
depositaries  of  the  civilization  of  the  modern  world,     sect.  8. 

is  for  the  future  inseparably  connected  with  events,     

which  the  career  of  these  powerful  neighbours  must  R^nts. 
engender.  We  cannot  but  see  how  intimately  the 
course  of  that  career  is  dependent  on  present  and 
future  changes  in  the  system  of  labor  rents,  and 
for  this  cause  surely,  if  for  no  other,  that  system 
deserves  the  careful  attention  of  all  who  may  apply 
themselves  to  the  task  of  explaining  the  nature  of 
the  re7it  of  land,  and  examining  its  influence  on  i 
the  character  and  fortunes  of  different  nations. 

Those  indeed,  who  value  what  is  called  political 
economy,  chiefly  because  it  leads  to  an  insight 
into  the  manner  in  which  the  physical  circum- 
stances, which  surround  man  on  earth,  develope  or 
sway  his  moral  character,  will  feel  interested  on 
yet  higher  grounds  in  tracing  the  effects  of  a  sys- 
tem, springing  out  of  that  common  necessity,  which, 
for  a  long  period  in  the  growth  of  nations,  binds 
the  majority  of  their  population  to  the  earth  they 
till ;  a  system,  which  has  continued  for  a  series  of 
ages  to  stamp  its  peculiar  impress  on  the  political, 
the  intellectual,  and  moral  features  of  so  large  a  di- 
vision of  the  human  race'. 

^  When  these  pages  were  first  written,  I  had  not  seen  the 
Second  Report  of  Mr.  Jacob,  which  has  since  been  published 
in  a  form  suited  to  general  circulation.  That  gentleman  has 
lately  been  on  the  spot,  and  has  cast  his  extremely  acute  and 
practised  eye  upon  the  actual  condition  and  probable  progress 
of  the  agricultural  portion  of  eastern   Europe.     He  has  come 



72  Rents. 

Book  I.  to  results  remarkably  similar  to  those  which  I  had  ventured 
Chap.  ii.  to  suggest  from  a  more  distant  and  general  knowledge  of  their 
circumstances.  The  still  predominant  influence  of  labor  rents: 
the  general  want  of  capital  among  the  proprietors:  the  rapid 
Rents.  increase  in  the  numbers  of  the  peasant  cultivators  which  has 
been  taking  place  since  their  dependence  on  the  landlords  has 
been  less  servile:  the  feeble  beneficial  effects  on  agriculture 
and  on  the  general  composition  of  society  which  in  twenty  years 
have  sprung  from  the  strong  measures  of  the  Prussian  govern- 
ment: the  difficulties  which  every  where  oppose  themselves 
to  all  sudden  changes  in  the  old  system  of  cultivation :  the 
strong  apparent  probability  that  the  future  progress  in  the 
eastern  division  of  Europe  will  not,  with  all  the  efforts  that 
are  making,  be  much  more  rapid  than  that  of  this  country 
when  emerging  from  a  similar  state  of  things;  all  these  are 
points  on  which  I  can  now  refer  with  very  great  satisfaction 
to  the  local  knowledge  and  authority  of  Mr.  Jacob,  in  sup- 
port of  the  suggestions  I  have  here  thrown  out.  See  Second 
Report  passim,  but  more  especially  140  and  the  following  pages. 


CHAP.  III.     SECT.  L. 

Metayer  Rents. 

The  Metayer  is  a  peasant  tenant  extracting  his    ^°°'^..^' 
own  wages  and  subsistence  from  the  soil.     He  pays    sect.  i. 

Si  produce  rent  to  the  owner  of  the  land,  from  which    

he  obtains  his  food.  The  landlord,  besides  supply-  Rents. 
ing  him  with  the  land  on  which  he  lives,  supplies 
him  also  with  the  stock  by  which  his  labor  is 
assisted.  The  payment  to  the  landlord  may  be  con- 
sidered, therefore,  to  consist  of  two  distinct  portions  : 
one  constitutes  the  profits  of  his  stock,  the  other  his 

The  stock  advanced  is  ordinarily  small.  It  con- 
sists of  seed ;  of  some  rude  implements ;  of  the 
materials  of  others  which  the  peasant  manufactures ; 
and  of  such  materials  for  his  other  purposes  as  the 
land  itself  affords ;  building  timber,  stone,  &c.  and 
occasionally  of  some  draft  animals.  If  not  assisted 
by  the  productive  powers  of  the  soil,  by  the  ma- 
chinery of  the  earth,  this  stock  would  either  be 
wholly  insufficient  for  the  permanent  maintenance 
of  any  laborers,  or,  turned  into  some  other  shape, 
it  would  provide  for  the  temporary  support  of  a  very 
small  number.  When  applied,  however,  to  assist 
the  peculiar  powers  of  the  earth,  this  small  stock 
is    found    sufficient   to   enable  a   numerous  body   of 

74  Rents. 

Book  I.    laborcrs  permanently   to   maintain    themselves ;  and 
Selll'    in  the  produce  of  their  industry  the  landlord  shares. 

The  produce  which  the  possession  of  land  has  thus 

Si"  enabled  him  to  acquire,  and  which  without  the  land 
he  could  not  have  acquired,  is  that  portion  of  the 
annual  produce  of  the  labor  of  the  country  which 
falls  to  his  share  as  a  land-holder.  It  is  rent.  The 
rest  is  profits.  In  the  more  advanced  stages  of  civi- 
lization, it  is  easy  to  decide  in  each  particular  case, 
what  proportion  of  the  landlord's  revenue  from  a 
metayer  farm  is  rent,  and  what  proportion  profits. 
In  the  ruder  stages,  it  is  more  difficult ;  but  we 
shall  have  occasion  to  advert  to  this  hereafter. 

The  existence  of  such  a  race  of  tenantry  indi-: 
cates  some  improvement  in  the  body  of  the  people, 
compared  with  the  state  of  things  in  which  serf  rents 
originate.  They  are  entrusted  with  the  task  of  pro- 
viding the  food  and  annual  revenue  of  the  proprietor, 
without  his  superintending,  or  interfering  with,  their 

The  metayer,  then,  must  be  somewhat  supe- 
rior in  skill  and  character  to  the  serfs,  whose 
industry  can  be  safely  depended  on  by  the  propri- 
etor, only  while  exercised  under  his  direct  control, 
and  whose  rents  are  therefore  paid,  not  in  produce, 
but  in  labor.  But  still  the  advance  of  stock  by 
the  proprietor,  and  the  abandonment  of  the  manage- 
ment of  cultivation  to  the  actual  laborcrs,  indicate 
the  continued  absence  of  an  intermediate  class  of 
capitalists ;  of  men  able  to  advance  from  their  own 
accumulations  the  food  of  the  laborer  and  the  stock 
by  which  he  is  assisted ;  and  thus  to  take  upon  them- 

Rents.  75 

selves   the   direction    of  agriculture.     The   metayer    chaTiiii 
system    indicates,   therefore,  a   state   of  society,  ad-     Sect.  i. 
vanced,  when  compared  with  that  in  which  serf  rents     "! 
prevail ;  backward,  when  compared  with  that  in  which    Rents. 
rents  paid  by  capitalists  make  their  appearance. 

It  is  found  springing  up  in  various  parts  of  the 
world,  engrafted  occasionally  on  the  serf  rents  we 
have  been  reviewing,  and  more  often  on  the  system 
of  ryot  rents  we  have  yet  to  examine.  But  it  is 
in  the  western  division  of  continental  Europe,  in 
Italy,  Savoy,  Piedmont,  the  Valteline,  France,  and 
Spain,  that  the  pure  metayer  tenantry  are  the  most 
common,  and  it  is  there  that  they  influence  most 
decidedly  the  systems  of  cultivation  and  those  im- 
portant relations  between  the  different  orders  of 
society,  which  originate  in  the  appropriation  of  the 
soil.  Into  those  countries,  once  provinces  of  the 
Roman  Empire,  they  were  introduced  by  the  Ro- 
mans, and,  to  discover  their  origin  in  Europe,  we 
must  turn  back  our  eyes  for  an  instant  on  the 
classical  nations  of  antiquity. 


Of  Metayer  Rents  in  Greece. 

Greece,   when   it   first   presents   materials   for  ^°°^  *• 

-           ,                                         J .    .  J     i  Chap.  iii. 

authentic   history,  was,  for  the   most  part,    divided  gect.  2. 

into  small  properties  cultivated  by  the  labor  of  the    

proprietors,  assisted  by  that  of  slaves.     But  before  juntl^'^ 


76  Rents. 

Book  1.  yjQ  observe  how  this  state  of  things  led  the  way  to 
Sect!  2!  the  establishment  of  metayer  rents,  it  should  be 
remarked,  that   relics    of  a   system   which    even    in 

SJi^  those  days  bore  the  marks  of  antiquity,  and  was 
becoming  obsolete,  were  still  to  be  seen  in  many 
districts  of  Greece. 

Irruptions  from  other  countries,  as  to  the  details 
of  which  the  learned  dispute  in  vain,  had,  previous 
to  the  aera  of  historical  certainty,  filled  several  pro- 
vinces of  Greece  with  foreign  masters.  These  peo- 
ple, in  some  instances  at  least,  found  the  original 
inhabitants  acquainted  with  agriculture,  the  toils  of 
which  they  had  no  inclination,  perhaps  not  suffi- 
cient skill,  to  share.  They  converted  therefore  the 
husbandmen  into  a  peculiar  species  of  tenantry,  dif- 
fering from  the  serf  tenantry  of  modern  Europe  in 
this,  that  though  attached  to  the  soil,  and  a  sort 
of  predial  bondsmen,  they  paid,  not  labor,  but  pro- 
duce rents,  and  belonged,  in  some  remarkable  in- 
stances, not  to  individuals,  but  to  the  state.  These 
tenants  were  called  in  Crete  Perioeci,  Mnotae,  Apha- 
miotae ;  in  Laconia  Perioeci  and  Helots ;  in  Attica 
Thetes  and  Pelatae ;  in  Thessaly  Penestae,  and  in 
other  districts  by  other  names ^ 

*  This  sketch  of  the  tenantry  peculiar  to  early  Greece  might 
have  been  made  more  extensive  and  perhaps  more  precise. 
They  may  be  traced  in  many  other  districts,  and  some  dis- 
tinctions might  certainly  be  drawn  between  the  classes  named: 
but  this  is  a  subject  into  the  details  of  which  it  would  be  dif- 
ficult to  enter,  without  either  launching  into  lengthy  discussion, 
or  stating  shortly  as  facts,  what  arc  really  only  conjectures. 
Those  who  may  wish  to  follow  the   matter   up  to  ihc  original 


Rents.  77 

The   produce   rents,    which    this    tenantry    were    book  i. 
bound  in  Crete  to  pay  to  the  government,  enabled     sea!2! 

the   legislators   of  that   island    to    establish    public    

tables  in  the  different  districts,  at  which  the  free-  Renti'S 
men  and  their  families  were  fed*.  This  institution  <^'^<^- 
Lycurgus  established  or  renewed  at  Lacedaemon, 
where  the  tables  were  supplied  by  the  produce  of 
the  industry  of  the  Helots;  and  wherever  Syssi- 
tiae  or  common  tables  can  be  traced,  it  is  at  least 
probable,  that  they  were  supplied  by  a  similar  race 
of  tenants. 

In  Attica,  the  existence  of  the  Thetes  or  Pelatae 
(as  this  tenantry  were  there  called)  exercised  no  such 
influence  on  the  general  habits  of  the  citizens  as 
it  did  in  Crete,  in  Sparta,  and  in  other  Dorian 
states ;  and  when  they  were  restored  by  Solon  to 
personal  freedom,  though  not  to  the  political  rights 
of  citizens,  the  alteration  led  to  no  striking  results'. 

testimony,  on  which  all  conclusions  relating  to  it  must  rest, 
may  consult  Ruhnken's  notes  on  the  words  ■7re\drr]<;  and  Trevea-- 
TiKow  in  his  edition  of  the  Platonic  Lexicon  of  Timaeus,  two 
notes  relating  to  the  institutions  of  Laconia  and  Crete,  affixed 
to  Gottling's  edition  of  Aristotle's  politics;  and  above  all 
Miiller's  elaborate  history  of  the  Dorian  states,  a  valuable  work, 
for  a  translation  of  which  the  English  public  are  about  to  be 
indebted,  and  very  deeply  indebted  certainly,  to  Messrs.  TufF- 
nell  and  Lewis.  While  referring  to  the  two  last  of  these  German 
writers,  it  may  be  right  to  mention  that  there  are  one  or  two 
points  on  which  I  must  venture  to  dissent  from  their  con- 
clusions: these  are  shortly  noticed  in  the  Appendix. 

2  Aristotle's  Politics,  Book  IL 

3  Bceckh,  however,  seems  of  opinion  that  at  one  period  of 
the  history  of  Attica,  all  the  cultivators  of  its  territory  were 
Thetes.     (Vol.  L  p.  250.  English  Translation.)     They  may  have 


78  Rents. 

Book  I.  It  requires  indeed  some  little  attention  to  dis- 

Sbcu  2.     ^^^  their  past  existence  among  the  Athenians  ;  and 

the  details  of  their  condition  are  now  perhaps  out 

R^Zi  of  the  reach  of  research.  MopTTJ  was  the  name  ap- 
Greece.  plied  indiflferently,  it  should  seem,  both  to  the  share 
paid  as  rent  and  that  retained  by  the  Thetes.  The 
rent  usually  consisted  of  a  sixth  of  the  produce, 
hence  their  name  of  cKTijfxopioi,  sometimes  it  was  a 
fourth,  and  then  the  Pelatae  were  said  xeT^a^^/^etv. 
The  Penestse  of  Thessaly  were  a  body  of  similar 
tenantry.  With  the  exception  of  the  districts  oc- 
cupied by  this  peculiar  species  of  tenantry  \  and 
of  the  lands  belonging  to  towns  which  seem  often 
to  have  let  for  terms  of  years  at  money  rents,  the 
lands  of  Greece  were  very  generally  in  the  posses- 
sion of  freemen,  cultivating  small  properties  with 
the  assistance  of  slaves. 

Slaves  were  very  numerous.  Men  distributed 
like  the  Greeks  into  small  tribes  of  rude  freemen, 
surrounded  by  similar  tribes,  probably  exhibit  the 
pugnacious  qualities  of  human  nature  in  the  highest 
degree  known.  It  has  often  been  observed  with 
truth,  that  in  such  a  state  of  society  the  appearance 
of  domestic  slavery  indicates  a  considerable  softening 
of  the  manners.     When  warrior  nations  have  found 

been  so;  but  it  is  impossible,  I  think,  to  read  the  fifth  book 
of  the  Memorabilia,  (the  OlKovonntoi  \6yo<;)  of  Xenophon, 
without  feeling  persuaded,  that  in  his  days  the  very  memory 
of  such  a  state  of  things  was  gone.  The  Thetes  continued  to 
exist  as  a  class  ia  the  state  long  after  they  had  ceased  to  be 
ita  exclusive  cultivators,  if  they  ever  were  such. 
^  Appendix. 

Renta.  79 

out  the  means  of  makine  the  labor  of  captives  con-  ^'^'  ^• 

•1  1     •  1  1  -r»  Chap.Ui. 

tribute  to  their  own  ease,  they  preserve  them.     Ue-  sect.  2. 

fore  they  have  made  such  a  discovery  they  put  them    

to  death.  Among  the  North  American  Indians,  lUnJi^ 
the  labor  of  no  man  will  do  more  than  maintain  ^'^^• 
himself;  no  profit  is  to  be  made  of  a  slave;  hence, 
unless  the  captive  is  selected  to  take  upon  himself 
in  the  character  of  a  son  or  husband  the  task  of 
protecting  and  providing  food  for  a  family  deprived 
of  its  chief,  he  is  invariably  slaughtered.  Some 
tribes  of  Tartars  on  the  borders  of  Persia  massacre 
all  the  true  believers  who  fall  into  their  hands,  but 
preserve  all  heretics  and  infidels ;  because  their  re- 
ligion forbids  them  to  make  slaves  of  true  believers, 
and  allows  them  to  use  or  sell  all  others  at  their 

The  Greeks  used  the  slaves,  with  which  thei 
frequent  wars  supplied  them,  in  all  kinds  of  menia 
and  laborious  occupations,  and  a  notion  that  such 
occupations  could  not  be  filled  without  slaves,  be- 
came so  familiar,  that  even  their  acutest  philosophers 
seem  never  to  have  doubted  its  accuracy  or  justice. 
A  commonwealth,  says  Aristotle,  consists  of  families, 
and  a  family  to  be  complete  must  consist  of  free- 
men and  slaves ^  and  in  fixing  on  the  form  of  go- 
vernment, which  according  to  him  would  be  most 
perfect,  and  conduce  the  most  to  the  happiness  of 
mankind,  he  requires  that  his  territory  should  be 
cultivated  by  slaves  of  different  races  and  destitute 

*  Pol.  Book  L  Cap.  iii.  oUia   he   Te'\eio«   ck    hovKuv    koi  e\ev- 

80  Rents. 

Book  I.  of  spirit,  that  so  they  may  be  useful  for  labor,  and 

Chap.m.  ^^^^  ^Y\Q  absence   of  any  disposition  to  revolt  may 

U  be  securely  relied  on\     The  condition  of  Africa  is 

Metayer  now   in   this   particular,  much    like    that   of  Greece 

Renu  in  ^  ^     ,        -,  ■^^  ^    •     • 

Greece.  then.  Ouc  of  the  late  travellers  was  explaining  to 
an  African  chief  that  there  are  no  slaves  in  Eng- 
land. "  No  slaves,"  exclaimed  their  auditor,  "  then 
what  do  you  do  for  servants?" 

In  Greece  the  labor  of  cultivation  was  at  first 
shared  between  the  master  and  slave.  This  must 
always  be  while  properties  are  small ;  and  accordingly 
it  was  so  in  Latium.  Cincinnatus  would  have 
starved  on  his  four  acres,  had  he  trusted  to  the  pro- 
duce slaves  could  extract  from  it,  and  neglected  to 
lay  his  own  hands  on  the  plough.  But  as  civi- 
lization went  forward  in  Greece,  properties  became 
enlarged.  The  proprietors  clung  to  cities ;  where 
popular  governments  offered  to  the  active  duties  to 
perform,  and  objects  of  ambition  to  aspire  to,  and 
to  the  indolent  and  voluptuous  every  species  of 
pleasure,  made  more  seducing  by  all  the  embellish- 
ments that  could  be  created  by  a  taste  and  fancy, 
which  seem  to  have  belonged  to  those  times  and 
to  that  people  alone.  By  such  occupations  and 
amusements  many  of  the  leading  Grecians  were  so 
engrossed,  that  they  refused  to  give  up  even  the 
time  and  attention  necessary  to  command  their 
household  slaves^     Those  who  still  attended  to  the 

^  Aristot.  Pol.  Book  VII.  Cap.  x.  If  these  cannot  be  ob- 
tained, Aristotle  expresses  a  wish  for  barbarian  perioeci  (com- 
pounds of  the  serf,  metayer,  and  slave)  of  similar  dispositions. 

'  Arist.  Pol.  Book  I.  Cap.  iv.  who  are  able  to  escape 


Rents.  81 

management  of  their  farms  must  have  found  the  task    ^'^  }: 
difficult    and    hazardous.      Xenophon    has   left    an    sect.  2. 

accurate  picture  of  the  mode  in  which  the  Grecian    

gentlemen  of  his  day  conducted  the  cultivation  of  Rems^i^ 
their  estates.  In  one  of  the  dialogues  of  the  Me-  ^'^^"'• 
morabilia,  Socrates  relates  a  conversation  he  had  had, 
with  Ischomachus,  who  was  by  the  confession  of  all, 
men  and  women,  foreigners  and  citizens,  KaXos  koi 
ayaOo^,  an  accomplished  and  good  man.  Ischomachus 
details  those  particulars  of  his  domestic  economy  which 
had  principally  earned  for  him  this  general  praise, 
and  explains  at  large  his  management  of  his  house- 
hold, his  wife,  and  finally  his  estate.  It  appears 
in  the  progress  of  the  dialogue,  that  the  estate  of 
Ischomachus  was  within  a  short  distance  of  Athens, 
that  he  rode  to  it  very  frequently,  paid  it  much 
personal  attention,  and  superintended  all  its  arrange- 
ments with  great  care.  While  cultivation  was  car- 
ried on  under  the  superintendance  of  such  men ; 
while  proprietors  freed  from  all  necessity  of  per- 
sonal labor,  liberal,  learned,  and  wealthy,  sedulously 
applied  the  powers  of  their  minds  to  agriculture, 
the  art  made  rapid  progress,  and  a  succession  of 
writers  on  the  subject  appeared  in  various  parts  of 
Greece,  whose  works  evidenced  both  the  quantity  of 
intellect  applied  to  the  unfolding  the  resources  of 
the  soil,  and  the  actual  progress  of  cultivation. 

But  causes  which  destroyed  this  system  of  ma- 
naging the  land  were  silently  at  work.     Even  Ischo- 

these  vexations,  pi'ocure  a  steward  to  undertake  the  task;  while 
they  themselves  attend  to  politics  or  philosophy. 



82  Rents. 

Book  1.    maclius  was  obliged  to  rely  much  on  his  e-n-'iaKOTroi 
Sect.  2.     or  overseers ;  slaves  who  were  very  carefully  trained 

as  bailiffs,  like  the  Roman  villici.     All  estates,  how- 

ke^Hn  ever,  could  not  be  like  his  within  a  ride  of  the  capi- 
tal; the  more  distant  were  necessarily  confided 
almost  wholly  to  these  managing  slaves ;  and  their 
management,  unless  they  differed  utterly  from  all 
other  slaves  similarly  trusted,  must  have  been  very 
generally  careless  and  bad.  As  Greece  too  became 
consolidated,  first  by  the  JNIacedonian,  then  the 
Roman  influence,  the  possessions  of  individual  pro- 
prietors naturally  extended  themselves  over  a  larger 
space,  and  profitable  management  by  slave  agents 
must  have  become  more  and  more  impracticable. 
At  last  a  tenant  was  introduced  who,  receiving  from 
the  landowner  his  land  and  stock,  became  respon- 
sible to  him  for  a  certain  proportion,  usually  half, 
of  the  produce :  and  the  proprietors  gave  up  finally  all 
interference  with  the  task  of  cultivation.  These  new 
tenants  were  called  mortitaj,  and  they  are  called  so 
still  in  Greece. 

The  precise  date  at  which  they  began  to  super- 
sede the  cultivation  by  proprietors  is  not  known. 
It  is  supposed  by  some  that  this  iiappened  after 
their  connection  with  Rome,  and  that  /uopTiTT]^^ 
which  is  not  a  word  of  ancient  or  classical  Greek, 
was  a  translation  of  the  Latin  phrase  colonus  par- 
tia7'ius.  But  we  can  see  so  distinctly  the  same 
internal  causes  which  led  to  the  creation  of  the 
Roman  tenantry  acting  in  Greece,  that  it  is  pro- 
bable the  mortitae  appeared  there  as  soon,  if  not 
sooner,    than    the    colonl  partiani  among    the  Ro- 

Remits.  83 

mans,    and   that    the   word   fxopTiri^^   was   suggested    Book  i. 
by  fiopTrj,  which  we  have  seen  was  the  name  of  the     g^^  ^ ' 

produce  rent  paid  by  the  ancient  Thetes  of  Attica.    

However  this  might  be,  by  such  a  tenantry  the 
surface  of  Greece  was  gradually  occupied ;  they  sur- 
vived the  Mahometan  conquest,  and  the  lands  of 
the  Turkish  Agas  were  very  generally  cultivated, 
before  the  present  disturbances,  by  Grecian  mortitae 
or  metayers  \ 


On  Metayers  among  the  Romans. 

The  causes  which  introduced  metayers  into  Italy  Book  i. 
were  precisely  similar  to  those  which  ultimately  es-  g^c^s. 
tablished  them  in  Greece.     The  Romans  began  by 

sharing  with  their  slaves  the  toils  of  cultivation.  As  ^^ytn. 
the  size  of  estates  enlarged,  their  owners  became  the 
superintendants  of  the  labor  they  before  assisted. 
In  this  stage  the  art  of  agriculture  was  deeply 
studied  in  Rome,  as  it  had  been  in  a  similar  stage 
in  Greece,  by  a  class  of  men  well  qualified  to  carry 
it  far  towards  perfection.     The  works  oi  fifty  Greek 

*  See  Historical  Outline  of  the  Greek  Revolution  published 
by  Murray,  p.  9.  "  The  nominal  conditions  upon  which  the 
christian  peasant  of  European  Turkey  labours  for  the  Turkish 
proprietor,  are  not  oppressive :  they  were  among  the  many 
established  usages  of  the  country  adopted  by  the  Ottomans, 
and  the  practice  is  similar  to  that  which  is  still  very  common 
in  all  the  poorer  countries  of  Europe.  After  the  deduction  of 
about  a  seventh  for  the  imperial  land-tax,  the  landlord  receives 
half  the  remainder,  or  a  larger  share,  according  to  the  proportion 
of  seed,  stock,  and  instruments  of  husbandry  which  he  has 


84  Rents. 

Book  I.    writers  on  agriculture  were  known  to  the  Romans \ 
SecTs!"   ^"^  those  of  several   Carthaginians.     Of  these  last, 

one,  Mago,  was  marked  by  the  honorable  distinction 

M°etaycrs.  ^^  having  his  works  translated  into  Latin  in  obedi- 
ence to  a  formal  decree  of  the  Senate'.  Roman  works 
on  agriculture  were  less  numerous  than  the  Greek,  but 
they  were  the  productions  of  eminent  men,  beginning 
with  Cato  the  censor  (qui  earn  latine  loqui  primus 
instituit.  Col.)  and  including  Varro  and  Virgil. 
The  great  poet  was  far  from  being  the  last  among 
the  cultivators  of  his  day,  and  has  even,  in  a  few 
remarkable  lines,  recommended  that  alternate  hus- 
bandry, and  substitution  of  pulse  and  green  crops  for 
fallows,  which  is  the  main  basis  of  the  most  im- 
portant improvements  of  our  own  times. 

Alternis  idem  tonsas  cessare  novales, 
Et  segnem  patiere  situ  durescere  campum ; 
Aut  ibi  flava  seres,  mutato  sidere,  farra, 
Unde  prius  laetum  siliqua  quassante  legumen 
Aut  tenuis  fetus  viciae,  tristisque  lupini 
Sustuleris  fragiles  calamos  silvamque  sonantem. 

Geor.  Lib.  I.  !.  71. 

As  the  empire  became  larger,  the  size  of  estates 
increased ;  and  v;hen  they  were  scattered  over  pro- 
vinces which  reached  from  Britain  and  Spain,  to 
Asia  INIinor  and  Syria,  the  superintendance  of  the 
husbandry  carried  on  upon  them  became  burthensome 
and    inefficient^    and    even    the    task    of    training 

1  Columella,  Book  I    Chap.  i.  *  Ibid.  Book  I.  Chap.  i. 

■''  Col.  Book  I.  chap.  i.  Nam  qui  longinqua,  ne  dicam  trans- 
marina  rura  mercantur,  velut  haeredibus  patrimonio  suo,  et  quod 
gravius  est,  vivi,  cedunt  servis. 

Rents.  85 

properly  the  villici  or  managers  was  abandoned,  and   Book  i. 
the  lands  given  up  in  some  measure  to  the  discre-   ^^'3"* 

tion  of  an  inferior  class  ^  of  slaves.     The  immediate    

consequence  was  such  a  deficiency  in  the  jiroduce,  ^^*g 
that  some  strange  and  unknown  cause  was  supposed 
to  be  enfeebling  the  fecundity  of  the  earth  itself. 
Among  even  the  more  eminent  Romans,  while  some 
talked  of  a  long  continued  unwholesomeness  in  the 
seasons,  others  were  inclined  to  a  superstitious  belief, 
that  the  world  was  waxing  old,  and  its  powers  decaying : 
that  the  exuberant  crops  reaped  by  their  forefathers 
had  been  the  produce  of  its  youthful  strength ;  and 
that  the  sterility  which  then  afflicted  it  was  a  symp- 
tom of  its  decrepitude^.  Columella  saw  more  dis- 
tinctly the  real  cause  of  the  falling  off;  he  describes 
in  a  passage  which  has  been  often  quoted,  the  mal- 
practices of  the  slaves  on  those  distant  farms,  which 
it  was  not  easy  for  the  proprietor  often  to  visit ;  and 
though  himself  an  indignant  advocate  for  the  more 
general  practice  of  agriculture,  as  the  most  liberal 
and  useful  of  arts,  he  concludes  by  recommending 
that  all  such  estates  should  be  let.  "  Ita  fit  ut  et  actor 
et  familia  peccent,  et  ager  saepius  infametur:  quare 
talis  generis  prasdium,  si,  ut  dixi,  domini  pr^sentia 
cariturum  est,  censeo  locandurri^r 

A  race  of  tenants  then  gradually  acquired  pos- 
session of  the  surface  of  Italy  and  the  provinces. 
They  were  of  various  classes,  but  the  coloni  partiarii 

*  Col.  Book  I.  chap.  1.  Rem  rusticam  pessirao  cuique  ser- 
vonim,  velut  carnifici,  noxee  dedimus,  quam  majorum  nostrorum 
optimus  quisque  optime  tractaverit. 

'  Col.  Book  I.  chap.  i.  '°  Col.  Lib.  I.  chap.  vii. 


86  Rents 

Book  I.   or  viedietarii,  metayers,  seem  always  to  have  been 
Chap.  m.  favorites,   and   the  terms  on  which   they  cultivated 

Sect.  3.  '  { 

to  have  appeared  the  most  just  and  expedient.  Pliny, 
having  tried,  it  seems,  some  other  form  of  contract 
with  his  tenantry,  and  finding  it  answer  ill,  announces 
in  one  of  his  letters  his  determination  to  adopt  the 
metayer  system  as  the  best  remedy.  "  The  only  re- 
medy," he  says,  "  I  can  think  of  is,  not  to  reserve  my 
rent  in  money  but  in  kind  (partibus),  and  to  place 
some  of  my  servants  to  overlook  the  tillage,  and 
to  take  care  of  my  share  of  the  produce,  as  indeed 
there  is  no  sort  of  revenue  more  just  than  that, 
which  is  regulated  by  the  soil,  the  climate,  and 
the  seasons  \" 

The  system  thus  praised,  ultimately  prevailed 
throughout  the  provinces  of  the  empire;  and  in 
the  western  part  of  Europe,  was  never  wholly 
extirpated  by  the  convulsions  which  accompanied 
its  downfall.  In  many  instances  indeed  the  first 
violence  of  the  barbarians  put  to  flight  all  regular 
industry,  and  into  the  wilderness  which  they  created 
they  were  obliged  to  introduce  labor  rents  and  a 
race  of  serfs.  The  feudal  system  too,  and  the  nu- 
merous body  of  arriere  vassals  it  gave  birth  to, 
changed  the  occupation  of  much  of  the  country.  But 
still,  thick  as  the  darkness  was,  which  covered  for 
a  time  the  remains  of  Roman  civilization,  its  effects 
were  never  wholly  lost.     The  language,  the  customs. 

*  Plin.  Epist.  Book  IX.  37.  It  appears  from  another  letter 
that  the  most  expensive  stock  supplied  to  the  tenantry  by  the 
proprietors  consisted  of  the  slaves. 

Rents.  87 

the  laws  of  the  provincials  still  survived,  and  strug-    book  i. 
ling  at  last  into  influence  they  communicated  much     ggct.  3. 

of  their  character  to    that   mixed   race    which    has     

arisen  in  western    Europe:    in  different  degrees  in  Metayers. 
different  countries,  but  enough  in  all  the  principal 
kingdoms   to  distinguish   their   inhabitants   broadly 
from  the  ijiore  primitive  race  to  the  eastward  of  the 

The  class  of  metayers  was  probably  never  any 
where  wholly  destroyed,  and  as  time  softened  the 
character  of  the  conquerors,  and  introduced  some  de- 
gree of  confidence  and  security  into  their  relations 
with  the  subject  cultivators,  industry  began  to  return 
to  its  old  employments.  It  was  always  an  object  gain- 
ed by  the  landlord,  if  he  could  substitute  a  produce 
rent,  and  a  tenant  whom  he  could  trust  with  the 
whole  task  of  cultivation,  for  a  rude  serf  like  the 
German  or  Slavonic  boor,  whose  labor  he  could  rely 
on,  only  while  he  himself  enforced  and  superintended 
it.  Metayers  therefore  spread  themselves :  the  do- 
main lands  of  the  proprietors  fell  generally  into  their 
hands,  and  they  re-acquired  that  general,  though  not 
complete,  possession  of  the  agriculture  of  western 
Europe,  which  we  see  them  in  a  great  measure  still 


On  Metayer  Rents  in  France.  Book  I. 

The    province    of  Gaul   was   violently   affected    sect.  4. 

in  all  its  social  relations,  by  the  various  irruptions    

and  final  predominance  of  the  barbarians.     The  gra-  ivf^tayers. 


88  Rents. 

Book  I.  dual  establishment  of  feudal  tenures,  and  the  intro- 
*^^'^"'  duction  of  serfs  and  labor  rents,  were  two  of  the 
most  important  effects  of  the  change  of  masters.  The 
number  and  species  of  feudal  tenures,  were  multiplied 
to  a  strange  extent  in  France  by  the  practice  of 
subinfeudation  ;  which  had  been  checked  in  England, 
but  prevailed  widely  on  the  continent.  The  seignoral 
rights,  and  the  rents  and  services  to  which  they 
gave  rise,  were  ranged  by  the  French  lawyers  under 
300  heads,  the  subdivisions  of  which  they  state  to 
be  infinite  \ 

Some  of  these  multiplied  rights  no  doubt  were 
engrafted  on  the  more  simple  relation  of  the  serfs 
to  their  landlords ;  for  as  the  feudal  system  became 
familiar  to  the  people,  the  notions  and  phraseology 
to  which  it  gave  birth,  extended  themselves  to  a 
multitude  of  relations  and  objects,  quite  foreign  to 
the  original  aim  of  the  system  itself.  Thus  on  the 
continent  annuities  in  money  or  corn  were  granted 
as  feuds,  and  occasionally  even  tfee  use  of  sums  of 
money",  and  in  England  the  copyholder,  whom  we 
can  distinctly  trace  to  the  villein  or  slave,  was  ad- 
mitted to  swear  fealty  and  do  homage  to  his  lord  much 
in  the  manner  of  the  military  tenants ;  a  practice 
which  still  continues.  Thus  also,  those  admitted  to 
degrees  at  our  Universities  do  feudal  homage  to  the 
Vice-Chancellor.  By  a  similar  abuse  of  feudal  forms, 
some   of  the   serfs   in   France  no   doubt  ranked    at 

'   Diet,  de  Finance,  Vol.  II.  p.  115. 

2  Hargreave  and   Butler's  Notes  on   Coke  upon  Littleton, 
Sect.  300.  Note  on  Tenants  in  common. 

Rents.  89 

last  amongst  the  manorial  tenantry  of  the  Seigneur,    SookF. 
and  their  relation  was  considered  to  be  a  feudal  one.     secT  4." 

But  besides  the  serfs  thus  gradually  assimilated    

to  vassals,  there  were  other  serfs  whose  state  ofMetoyere. 
slavery  was  as  distinct  and  undisguised  as  that  of 
the  Russian  cultivators  is  now :  they  existed  for  some 
time  in  considerable  numbers,  and  continued  to  exist 
in  several  provinces  up  to  the  era  of  the  revolution. 
We  will  say  something  of  these  before  we  proceed 
to  the  metayers.  They  were  found  on  the  estates 
of  the  crown,  of  lay  individuals,  and  of  ecclesiastics, 
under  the  name  of  mainmortables,  which  was  used 
indifferently  with  that  of  serf,  and  appears  to  have 
been  considered  synonymous  with  it.  They  were 
attached  to  the  soil,  and  if  they  escaped  from  it, 
were  restored  by  the  interference  of  the  tribunals  to 
their  owners,  to  whom  their  persons  and  those  of  their 
posterity  belonged.  They  were  incapable  of  trans- 
mitting property  :  if  they  acquired  any,  their  owners 
might  seize  it  at  their  death  :  the  exercise  of  this  right 
was  in  full  vigor,  and  some  startling  instances  led 
Louis  XVI.  to  make  a  feeble  attempt  at  a  partial 
emancipation.  Proprietors,  exercising  their  droit  de 
suite,  as  it  was  called,  had  forced  the  reluctant  tri- 
bunals of  the  king  to  deliver  into  their  hands  the 
property  of  deceased  citizens  who  had  been  long 
settled  as  respectable  inhabitants  in  different  towns 
of  France,  some  even  in  Paris  itself;  but  who  were 
proved  to  have  been  originally  serfs  on  the  estates 
of  the  claimants.  The  contrast  between  the  con- 
dition of  these  poor  people  and  that  of  the  rest  of 
the  population,  became  then  too  strong  to  be  endured ; 

9Q  Rents. 

BooKi.    but   though   the   naturally   kind   feelings   of  Louis 
Sect.  4.     appear   to  have  been   roused  upon  the   occasion,  he 

ventured  no  farther,  than  to  give  liberty  to  the  serfs 

aietayers.  or  maiumortables  on  his  own  domains,  and  to  abolish 
indirectly  the  droit  de  suite,  by  forbidding  his  tri- 
bunals to  seize  the  person  or  property  of  serfs,  who 
had  once  become  domiciled  in  free  districts.  In  the 
edict  published  by  the  unfortunate  monarch  on  this 
subject,  he  declares  that  this  state  of  slavery  exists 
in  several  of  his  provinces,  and  includes  a  great 
number  of  his  subjects,  and  lamenting  that  he  is 
not  rich  enough  to  ransom  them  all,  he  states  that 
his  respect  for  the  rights  of  property  will  not  allow 
him  to  interfere  between  them  and  their  owners, 
but  he  expresses  a  hope  that  his  example  and  the 
love  of  humanity  so  peculiar  to  the  French  people, 
would  lead  under  his  reign  to  the  entire  emancipation 
of  all  his  subjects  \ 

To  return  however  to  our  immediate  object,  the 
metayer  tenantry.  In  spite  of  the  cultivation  by 
vassals  and  serfs,  and  that  at  one  time  doubtless 
to  a  very  considerable  extent,  the  metayers  had  in 
their  possession  before  the  revolution  four-sevenths 
of  the  surface  of  France".  Another  one-sixth  or  one- 
seventh  was  in  the  possession  of  capitalists  finding 
their    own    stock    and    paying    money-rents'.     The 

'  For  this  edict,  see  Diet,  des  Finances,  at  the  word  Main- 

*  This  is  the  calculation  of  Dupres  St.  Maur,  sanctioned  by 
Turgot.  Adam  Smith  states  five-sixths.  Turgot,  Vol.  VI.  p.  209. 
Smith,  Vol.  II.  p.  92.  Edition  of  1812.  Arthur  Young  thinks 
seven-eighths.  Vol.  I.  p.  403. 

'  Arthur  Young,  Vol.  I.  p.  402. 

Rents.  ^1 

remainder  was  held  by  the  proprietors,  or  by  serf  or   Book  u 
feudal  tenantry.  ^^^-'f 

The  terms  on  which  the  French  metayers  held    

their  farms,  differed  much  from  age  to  ag-e:    these  French 

^o  ^  Metayers. 

variations  do  not  immediately  strike  the  eye  of  an 
observer,  because  the  nominal  rent,  and  nominal  share 
of  the  tenant,  have  changed  but  little,  and  the 
metayer  still  very  generally  takes  that  portion  of  the 
produce,  viz.  the  half,  from  which  his  original  name 
of  medietarius  was  derived.  But  while  the  metayer 
tenant  pays  nominally  the  same  rent,  his  own  share 
of  the  produce  may  be  diminished  in  two  modes  :  by 
bis  being  subjected  to  a  greater  quantity  of  the  pub- 
lic burthens :  or  by  the  size  of  his  metairie  being 
reduced.  By  this  second  mode  of  reduction,  I  am 
not  aware  that  the  French  metayer  suffered  much : 
fifty  acres  was  not  an  unusual  size  for  a  metairie ; 
in  poor  districts  they  comprised  a  much  larger 
quantity  of  land*. 

By  the  first  mode  of  reducing  his  share  of  the 
produce,  that  is,  by  the  increase  of  the  public  burthens 
which  he  had  to  bear,  the  metayer  suffered  to  an  ex- 
tent, fatal  both  to  his  own  comforts  and  to  the  pros- 
perity of  agriculture ;  a  circumstance,  which  had  a  great 
share  in  converting  the  peasantry  into  those  reckr 
less  instruments  of  mischief,  which  they  proved  in 
many  instances  to  be,  during   the  revolution. 

*  Arthur  Young  however,  it  is  right  to  mention,  came  to 
a  different  conclusion.  "  The  division  of  farms,"  he  says,  "  and 
the  population  is  so  great  that  the  misery  flowing  from  it  is  in 
some  places  extreme."  Vol.  I.  p.  404.  he  gives  some  instances: 
but  it  may  be  questioned  whether  these  were  not  small  proprietors 
or  feudal  tenants. 

92  Rents. 

Book  I.  The  TaiUe  was  an  imposition  which  the  French 

Chap.  iii.  antiquaries  think  they  can  trace  to  the  age  of  the 
'  Emperor  Augustus^;  we  know  that  it  was  levied  by 
French  the  barons  on  their  vassals  during  the  ages  of  feudal 
^*^"*  anarchy ;  by  the  sovereign  as  sovereign,  that  is  be- 
yond the  limits  of  his  own  domains,  as  early  as 
1325 :  that  it  became  under  Charles  vii.,  in  1444, 
an  annual  tax,  and  continued  afterwards  to  be  the 
main  branch  of  the  revenue  of  the  kingdom*.  It 
was  meant  to  be  levied  according  to  the  means  of 
the  contributor,  and  was  extremely  defective  both 
in  its  principle  and  mode  of  imposition ;  but  even 
these  defects  would  not,  perhaps,  have  made  it  in- 
tolerable, had  it  not  been  for  its  gradually  increasing 
amount,  which  at  last  almost  absorbed  the  daily 
bread  of  the  peasant.  It  would  have  been  well  for 
these  poor  people  had  that  proved  true  in  their  case, 
which  has  lately  been  promulgated  with  great  con- 
fidence as  an  universal  truth,  namely,  that  when  once 
certain  habits  of  life  are  established  among  a  popu- 
lation, a  diminution  of  their  means  of  subsistence  is 
followed  invariably  by  a  slackened  rate  of  the  increase 
of  their  numbers,  and  a  consequent  rise  of  wages, 
which  restores  them  to  their  former  position.  Theirs 
was  a  different  lot.  As  the  command  of  the  French 
peasants  over  the  means  of  existence  became  less, 
their  habits  altered,  but  their  numbers  did  not  de- 
crease ;  some  one  was  always  found  ready  to  occupy 
a  metairie,  "  parceque,  (says  M.  Destutt  de  Tracy,  in 

^  Diet,  des  finances.  Discours  Preliminaires,  Part  VII.  and 
Tom.  III.  p.  637. 

«  Diet,  des  Finanees,  Tom.  III.  p.  G3%—Q39- 

Rents.  98 

describing    their  misery)   il   y  a  toujours  des  mal-   Book  i, 

Chap,  ii 
Sect.  4. 

heureux  qui  ne  saveut  que  devenir."  *^"^' 

The  mode  in  which  the  taille  gradually  produced 

the  degradation  of  the  peasantry,  is  feelingly,  and,  ^^e^*^yerg. 
no  doubt,   accurately   described   by  Turgot^    in   his 
correspondence  with  the  ministers,  while  intendant 
of  the  Limosin. 

After  remarking,  that  while  the  cultivator  really 
received  half  his  produce,  he  had  the  means  of 
becoming  gradually  a  small  capitalist,  and  ulti- 
mately of  providing  the  stock  and  paying  a  money- 
rent,  he  observes,  that  if  the  tax  had  from  its  origin 
been  laid  on  the  landholders,  this  natural  progress 
of  events  would  not  have  been  deranged,  and  would 
have  procured  to  the  owner  the  enjoyment  of  his 
revenue,  without  any  care  on  his  part :  but  that 
the  taille  was  at  first  a  species  of  poll-tax,  and  very 
light,  from  which  the  -nobles  were  exempt :  that 
as  the  tax  increased,  it  became  necessary  to  levy 
it  in  proportion  to  the  means  of  the  cultivators, 
which  were  calculated  according  to  the  extent  of 
their  occupations,  a  method  by  which  the  privilege 
of  the  nobles  was  eluded :  that  while  the  imposition 
was  moderate,  the  metayer  paid  it  by  retrenching 
his  comforts ;  but  that  the  tax  increasing  constantly, 
the  portion  of  the  cultivator  was  so  much  diminished, 
that  at  last  he  was  reduced  to  the  most  profound 
misery.  These  reflexions,  he  says,  explain  how  it 
came  to  be  possible,  that  the  cultivators  should  be 

^  By  Vauban  in  the  Dixame  Royal,  and  in  the  "  Detail  de 
la  France,"  with  more  detail  and  animation ;  but  these  descrip- 
tions are  less  exclusively  applicable  to  the  Metayer  peasantry 
than  Turgot's. 


94^  Rents. 

Book  I.    pluMged  into   the  excess  of  misery    in   which    they 
Chap.  iii.   \\^Q-^   existed  in  the   Limosin  and  Angoumois,    and 

_'     perhaps  in  other  provinces  of  "petite  culture."    That 

French  miscry  he  declares  is  such,  that  on  the  greater  part 
of  the  domains,  the  cultivators  had  not,  after  paying 
their  taxes,  more  than  from  25  to  30  livres  to  spend 
annually  for  each  person,  (not  in  money,  but  reckon- 
ing the  value  of  all  that  they  consumed  in  kind) ; 
often  they  had  less,  and  when  they  could  subsist 
no  longer,  the  proprietor  was  obliged  to  contribute 
to  their  maintenance.  Some  proprietors,  he  adds, 
had  been  at  last  forced  to  perceive,  that  their  pre- 
tended exemption  had  been  much  more  mischievous 
than  useful  to  them  ;  and  that  an  imposition  which 
had  entirely  ruined  their  cultivators,  had  fallen  back 
wholly  on  themselves.  But  the  illusions  of  self- 
interest  ill  understood,  supported  by  vanity,  had 
long  maintained  their  ground,  and  were  only  dis- 
sipated when  things  were  carried  to  such  an  excess, 
that  the  proprietors  would  have  found  no  one  to  cul- 
tivate their  lands,  if  they  had  not  consented  to  con- 
tribute with  their  metayers  to  the  payment  of  a  part 
of  the  imposition.  That  custom  had  begun  to  intro- 
duce itself  into  some  parts  of  the  Limosin,  but  had 
not  extended  itself  much  :  the  proprietor  yielded  to 
such  an  arrangement  only,  when  he  could  find  no 
metayer  without  it ;  and  even  in  that  case  the  me- 
tayer was  always  reduced  to  what  was  strictly  ne- 
cessary^ to  prevent  his  dying  from  hunger. 

'  Ainsi,  meme  dans  ce  cas-la,  le  metayer  est  toujours 
reduit  a  ce  qu'il  faut  precisement  pour  ne  pas  mourir  de 
faim.  Turgot,  Tom.  IV.  p.  277-  Memoire  presented  to  the 
Council,    CEuvres  de  Turgot,    Tom.  IV.  p.  271,  272,  274,  275. 

Rents.  95 

The  tax  evidently  did  not  begin   to  move  from    ^°^^  i- 
the  shoulders  of  the  laborer  to  those  of  the  employer,    secf.  4" 

till  the  first  had  been  gradually  reduced  to  the  mini- 

mum  of  subsistence,   and  then   only  moved   to  such  MeJayws. 
an  extent  as  was  necessary  to  preserve  to  him  that 

The  revolution  converted  many  of  these  metayers 
into  small  proprietors,  but  they  still  abound  in 
France ;  and  their  condition  seems  to  have  altered 
for  the  better,  less  than  might  have  been  expected 
from  the  changes  which  have  taken  place  in  the 
system  of  taxation.  Mr.  Destutt  de  Tracy,  a  member 
of  the  Institute,  and  peer  of  France  under  the  Em- 
peror, who  states  himself  to  have  been  for  40  years 
proprietor  of  a  domain  farmed  by  metayers,  gives 
a  wretched  account  of  their  condition,  and  states 
that  he  is  acquainted  with  metairies,  which  have 
never,  in  the  memory  of  man,  supplied  the  food  of 
the  metayers  from  their  own  half  of  the  produce. 
As  his  description  is  the  most  authentic  account  of 
this  tenancy  as  it  exists  at  present  in  France,  I 
subjoin  it^. 

"  lis  ferment  ce  que  Ton  appelle  communement 
des  domaines  ou  des  metairies,  et  ils  y  attachent 
frequemment  autant  et  plus  de  terres  qu'il  n'y  en  a 
dans  les  grandes  fermes,  surtout  si  Ton  ne  dedaigne 
pas  de  mettre  en  ligne  de  compte  les  terres  vagues, 
qui  ordinairement  ne  sont  pas  rares  dans  ces  pays,  et 
qui  ne  sont  pas  tout-a-fait  sans  utilite,  puisqu'  on 
s'en  sert  pour  le  pacage,   ou  meme  pour  y  faire  de 

2  Destutt  de  Tracy  Traite  D'Economie  Politique,  p.  II6. 

96  Re7its. 

Book  T.    temps  en  temps  quelques  emblavures  afin  de  laisser 
Sect.  4.    reposer  les  champs  plus  habituellement  cultives. 

*^^  ^,  ^  ^j.  ^,  ^,  Uf 

^I*  ^f\  7JT  /|^  ^y^  *\*  ^T* 

French  .,.  ■,  i-i  -i-a 

Metayers.  1^6  proprietairc  est  done  reduit  a  les  garnir  lui-meme 
de  bestiaux,  d'  utensiles,  et  de  tout  ce  qui  est  ne- 
cessaire  a  I'exploitation,  et  k  y  ^tablir  une  famille 
de  paysans,  qui  n'  ont  que  leur  bras,  et  avec  lesquels 
il  convient  ordinairement,  au  lieu  de  leur  donner 
des  gages,  de  leur  abandonner  la  moitie  du  produit, 
pour  le  salaire  de  leurs  peines.  C'est  de  la  qu'ils 
sont  appeles  metayers,  travailleurs  k  moiti^.  Si 
la  terre  est  trop  mauvaise,  cette  moitie  des  pro- 
duits  est  manifestement  insufRsante  pour  faire  vivre, 
meme  miserablement,  le  nombre  d'hommes  neces- 
saire  pour  la  travailler ;  ils  s'endettent  bientot,  et 
on  est  oblige  de  les  renvoyer.  Cependant  on  en 
trouve  toujours  pour  les  rem  placer,  parce  qu'il 
y  a  toujours  des  malheureux  qui  ne  savent  que 
devenir.  Ceux-la  meme  vont  aiileurs,  ou  ils  ont 
souvent  le  meme  sort.  Je  connais  de  ces  metairies, 
qui  de  memoire  d'homme  n'ont  jamais  nourri  leurs 
laboreurs   au  moyen  de  leur  moitie  de    fruits." 

It  appears  by  an  article  in  the  Foreign  Quarterly, 
published  while  these  pages  were  in  the  press,  that 
in  spite  of  the  multiplication  of  small  proprietors 
since  the  revolution,  metayers  are  supposed  still 
to  cultivate  one-half  of  France.  Their  actual  con- 
dition is  little  improved,  it  appears,  by  the  change 
which  has  taken  place  in  the  system  of  taxation, 
and  their  sufferings  are  aggravated  by  the  spread 
of  a  class  of  middle -men  (always  existing  to 
some   extent)  who   without   changing   tlie   terms  on 

Rents.  97 

which    the    actual   cultivator    holds   the    soil,    pays   ^"^^  \ 
a   money-rent   to   the    proprietor,     and   grinds   and    s^t.T 

oppresses   the   tenant    to  make   his   bargain    profit-    

able.     The  condition  of  the    French  metayers  has  M^jtn. 
been  treated  of  with  some  fulness.     This  will  enable 
us  to  review  more  rapidly  the  same  class  of  tenantry 
existing  in  other  countries,  and  differing  from  the 
French  only  in  local  peculiarities. 


On  Metayer  Rents  in  Italy. 

The  decline  of  the  power  of  the  Roman  and  Boon  i. 
Byzantine  Emperors  in  Italy  was  gradual  and  slow ;  ^l  5"' 
the  shade  of  her  great  name  seemed  to  suspend  a 

shield  for  a  time  before  the  precincts  of  the  ancient  Jj^^ers. 
capital.  Both  the  language  and  the  history  of  the 
Italians  indicate,  that  the  alterations  in  the  habits 
and  in  the  mechanism  of  society,  produced  in  the 
original  seats  of  the  empire  by  the  final  change 
of  masters  and  intermixture  of  races,  were  much 
less  violent  and.  general  than  those  which  took 
place  in  the  distant  provinces.  From  many  dis- 
tricts of  Italy  it  is  probable  that  the  coloni  medie- 
tarii  never  disappeared,  and  that  the  peasants  who 
now  cultivate  the  soil  have  succeeded  to  them  in 
an  unbroken  line.  The  large  grazing  farms  of  Lom- 
bardy,  the  tracts  of  the  Campagna,  the  maremnae 
which  occur  on  the  coast,  are  occupied  by  capitalists; 


98  Rents. 

Book  I.   for  wherever  large  herds  of  cattle  are  to  be  main- 
g^^'  ^""   tained,  neither  the  peasant  nor  the  landlords  are  able 

to  supply  them.     But  in  spite  of  these,  and  per- 

Metayers.  haps  Other  exceptions,  Italy,  from  the  Alps  to 
Calabria,  is  still  covered  with  metayers  ^  The  me- 
tairies  of  Italy  arc  less  than  those  of  PVance.  Their 
extent  will  every  where  be  governed  by  what  the 
landlord  supposes  to  be  his  interest :  if  it  is  an 
object  with  him  that  his  estates  should  not  have 
fewer  hands  than  are  equal  to  its  complete  cultiva- 
tion, so  it  is  an  object  with  him,  that  it  should  not 
have  more.  The  number  of  acres  which  a  metayer 
and  his  family  can  manage,  must  depend  much  on  the 
course  of  crops  and  mode  of  tillage.  In  France  the 
system  of  cropping,  once  universal  in  Northern 
Europe,  still  prevails  extensively  ;  that  is,  corn  crops 
while  the  land  can  bear  them,  and  then  fallows,  or  leys 
of  some  years  standing,  with  some  waste  ground  for 
pasture.  On  such  a  plan  a  family  require  and  can 
manage  a  considerable  tract.  In  Italy  the  rotation 
of  crops  practised  by  the  Romans  is  still  carried 
on ;  the  legumina  recommended  by  Virgil  are  exten- 
sively cultivated,  and  the  cattle  are  often  fed  from 
the  produce  of  the  arable  ground.  On  such  a  system, 
a  much  smaller  quantity  of  land  will  employ  and 
maintain  a  family.  Metayers  are  always  found  ready 
to  accept  a  subdivision.  For  reasons  we  shall  have 
to  explain  presently,  those  motives  to  a  voluntary 
forbearance  from  early  marriages  which  affect  the 
higher   classes  in  all   countries,   and   all  classes   in 

'   That   is,   where   the   lands  are  let :  small  proprietors  are 
not  xincommon. 

Rents.  99 

some  countries  have  rarely  much  influence  on  a  pea-   Book  r. 
santry   receiving   the  wages   of   their   lahor  in   the     §5*^5" 

shape  of  raw  produce  raised  hy  themselves.     Such    

are  metayers :  their  multiplication  as,  we  have  seen  m*^^" 
in  the  case  of  France,  usually  goes  on  till  they  are 
stopped  by  the  smallness  of  their  maintenance,  or,  as 
more  often  happens,  by  the  policy  of  the  proprietors 
refusing  to  subdivide  lands,  already  supplied  with 
labor  beyond  the  point  they  deem  most  advanta- 
geous to  themselves'^.  The  metayer  farms  in  dif- 
ferent parts  of  Italy  are  of  different  sizes ;  those  of 
Tuscany  include  about  ten  acres.  But  in  Naples 
they  do  not  exceed  five,  and  the  tenants  there  pay 
two-thirds  of  the  produce  as  rents.  Their  climate 
and  soil  enable  them  to  do  this:  the  first  permits 
them  to  dispense  with  many  things  which  are  strictly 
necessaries  elsewhere,  while  the  earth  with  bounteous 
fertility  produces  eight  crops  in  five  years,  in  fields 
shaded  at  the  same  time  by  a  profitable  forest  of 
fruit  trees  and  vines.  Still,  making  ample  allow- 
ance for  these  advantages,  one-third  of  the  produce 
of  five  acres  must  yield  a  miserable  subsistence  to 
a  peasant,  subject  all  the  while  to  the  exactions  of 
a  needy  government,  and  of  an  aristocracy  armed 
with  all  sorts  of  mischievous  powers  and  privileges, 
and  extremely  inclined  to  abuse  them.     The  Tuscan 

^  There  are,  however,  parts  of  Tuscany  where  it  is  the 
custom  for  the  eldest  son  only  to  marry,  but  no  restraints  of 
this  kind  have  prevented  the  Italian  metayers,  generally,  from 
increasing  till  their  numbers  became  fully  equal  to  the  de- 
mands of  the  pvoprietors,  and  in  many  cases  really  burthensome 

to  agriculture. 

('  o 

100  Rents. 

Book  I.    mctayers   are   considered   to  be   best   off,  and   near 
'se^'' 5"    I^'lorence   have   a   considerable   appearance   of   ease, 

which  is  attributed  partly   to    the   manufacture   of 

]^''^  straw  hats,  an  employment  very  general  among 
them.  But  at  a  distance  from  the  town,  their  cir- 
cumstances are  wretched ;  their  food  coarse,  bad, 
and  scanty ;  and  their  penury  such  as  keeps  them 
in  a  state  of  perpetual  debt  to  the  landlords  for 
food  or  assistance  of  different  kinds \ 

Mr.  Coxe,  who  some  years  since  visited  the  Valte- 
line,  and  Mr.  Gilly,  who  more  lately  was  among  the 
Vaudois,  give  a  miserable  account  of  the  poverty  of 
the  metayers.  In  the  provinces  of  Spain  in  which 
they  most  abound,  they  are  said  to  be  extremely 
poor.  The  cultivation  of  the  Canary  Islands  is  in 
their  hands. 

In  Afghaunisthaun,  a  race  of  tenants  is  found 
called  Buzgurs^  who  seem  to  differ  in  no  respect 
from  the  metayers  of  Western  Europe.  This  is  a  sin- 
gular instance  in  Asia,  where  this  tenancy,  although 
sometimes  partially  engrafted  on  Ryot  rents,  is  per- 
haps in  no  other  spot  to  be  found  existing  in  its 
pure  form.  But  Afghaunisthaun  is  a  strange  land, 
in  which,  from  the  peculiarities  of  its  geographical 
and  political  condition,  fragments  of  almost  all  the 
civil  institutions  known  in  the  rest  of  the  world 
continue  to  co-exist  in  a  state  of  confusion  approach- 
ing to  anarchy. 

*  Arthur  Young's  Travels  in  France  and  Italy.  Appendix. 
These  volumes  contain  much  detailed  information  on  the  situa- 
tion of  the  metayers  in  Lombardy  and  Tuscany. 

^  Eiphinston's  Caubul.  Vol.  I.  p.  471- 

Rents.  101 


Summary  of  Metayer  Rents. 

Upon  comparing  the  metayer  with  the  serf,  it    Book  i. 
is  obvious  that  he  has  many  advantages:  his  being    sect*.  c" 

entrusted  with  the  whole  care  of  the  cultivation  is    

a  circumstance  which  not  only  indicates  his  supe-  *'^**y^"- 
rior  estimation  in  society,  but  brings  with  it  sub- 
stantial improvements  in  his  condition :  v/e  have 
noticed  that  the  forced  labor  of  the  serf  supposes 
some  power  of  summary  coercion  in  the  master, 
without  which,  cultivation  could  hardly  go  on.  But 
the  metayer  is  freed  from  the  galling  superintend- 
ance  of  the  proprietor,  and  the  terms  of  their  con- 
nection do  not  make  such  a  summary  power  necessary. 
That,  of  the  metayers,  many  were  once  slaves  there 
can  be  little  doubt ;  they  are,  and  have  been  for 
some  ages  generally,  I  believe  universally,  free- 
men ;  and  the  sovereigns  of  the  different  countries 
in  which  they  exist,  have  been  able  in  most  cases 
so  far  to  extend  the  power  of  the  royal  tribunals, 
as  effectually  to  secure  their  persons  and  effects. 

Another  advantage  of  the  metayer,  which  in 
practice,  it  is  to  be  feared,  is  less  than  might  be 
hoped,  is  this ;  that,  as  the  landlord's  rent  depends 
upon  the  amount  of  the  produce,  he  has  an  obvious 
interest  in  preventing  the  energy  or  the  means  of  the 
tenant  from  being  lessened  by  oppression.  A  half 
starved  metayer  must  needs  be  a  bad  agent  in  a 
cultivation,  on  the  efficiency  of  which  the  propri- 
etor's revenue  depends,  and  the  losses  of  which  he 


102  Rents. 

Book  I.  niust  share.  But  what  Turgot  calls  "  the  illusions 
Secu  e"  ^^  self-interest  ill  understood,"  or  in  plain  terms, 
perhaps,  the  covetousness  and  ignorance  of  the  pro- 
prietors, have  prevented  the  tenant  from  reaping 
all  the  benefit  this  consideration  might  have  been 
expected  to  secure  to  him.  While  the  taille  in 
France,  for  instance,  could  be  extracted  from  the 
tenant,  we  have  seen  that  he  was  made  to  bear  it, 
though  it  kept  him  on  the  verge  of  starvation ;  and 
in  other  countries,  either  the  too  great  subdivision 
of  the  soil,  the  increase  of  the  landlord's  proportion 
of  the  produce,  or  the  saddling  the  tenant  with 
burthensome  conditions  as  to  the  taxes,  have  left 
him  in  a  state  of  great  and  helpless  depression. 
Still  the  common  interest  he  has  with  the  landlord 
in  the  success  of  his  industry  is  never  wholly  without 
its  effects.  When  reduced  to  extremities,  the 
tenant  has  a  patron  to  apply  to,  who  cannot  for  his 
own  sake  let  him  perish,  or  even  suffer  beyond 
a  certain  point^ ;  and  in  calamitous  seasons,  ad- 
vances of  food  and  other  necessaries  by  the  landlords 
are  almost  universal. 

But  if  the  relation  between  the  metayer  and 
the  proprietor  has  some  advantages  when  compared 
with  that  between  the  serf  tenant  paying  labor 
rents  and  his  lord :  it  has  also  some  very  serious  in- 
conveniences peculiar  to  itself.  The  divided  interest 
which  exists  in  the  produce  of  cultivation,  mars 
almost  every  attempt  at  improvement.  The  tenant 
is   unwilling   to    listen    to   the    suggestions   of    the 

'  Turgot.     Destutt  Tracy.     Arthur  Young. 

Rents.  103 

landlord,  the  landlord  reluctant  to  entrust  additional   ^oor  i. 
means   in  the  hands   of  a  prejudiced,  and  usually    j^*^g'' 

very  ignorant  tenant-     The  tenant's  dread  of  inno-    

vation  IS  natural;    he  merely  exists  upon  a  system 
of  cultivation  familiar   to   him :   the   failure   of  an 
experiment  might  leave  him  to  starve.     This  dread, 
however,   makes   it   almost   impossible   to  introduce 
improvements   into    the    practice    of   the   metayers. 
Arthur  Young  witnessed  many  attempts  made   by 
amateur   agriculturists   on    their   own   estates ;    and 
concludes   his   account   of  them   by  declaring,  that 
with   metayer  tenants,   the   common  system  of  the 
country   must   be   adhered   to,  be  it  good  or  bad^. 
While   the  tenant   is    frightened   at    a    change   of 
system,   the  landlord   hangs    back,    with    a  hardly 
less  mischievous   reluctance,  from  the  advances  ne- 
cessary  to   carry   on    efficiently    any    system    what- 
ever.    When  stock  is  to  be  advanced  by  one  party, 
and   used    by   another    for    their    common    benefit, 
some  waste  and  carelessness  in  the  receiving  party, 
great  jealousy  and   reluctance   in   the   contributing 
party,     follow    naturally.       The    proprietors,    (says 
Turgot,)    who    only    advance    stock    because    they 
cannot  avoid  it,  and  who  are  themselves  not  rich, 
confine  their  advances  to  what  is  most  strictly  ne- 
cessary; accordingly,  there  is  no  comparison  to   be 
made  between  the  stock  advanced  by  a  proprietor 
for  the  cultivation  of  his  metairies,  and  that  used 
by   farmers   in    districts   cultivated    by    capitalists \ 
We  know,  however,  from  other  authority,  that  the 

2  Arthur  Young's  Travels  in  France. 
''  CEuvres  de  Turgot,  Tom.  IV.  p.  2(^7« 

104  Rents. 

Book  I.   capital   to   which   that   of  the   metayers    was    thus 
Se^t,'(;     decidedly  inferior,  was  itself  extremely  scanty  ^ 

Where   the   proprietors   are   needy,   careless,  or 

etayere.    ^|jg^jj|.^    ^\^q   ^^gg   bccomes   of   coursc   much    worse. 

"  In  bad  years,  (Turgot  remarks)  the  proprietor  is 
obliged  to  feed  the  metayers,  for  fear  of  losing  all 
he  has  advanced.  This  mode  of  management  re- 
quires on  the  part  of  the  proprietor  continual  atten- 
tion, and  an  habitual  residence :  accordingly,  if  it  is 
seen  that  the  affairs  of  a  proprietor  are  in  the 
smallest  degree  deranged,  or  if  he  is  obliged  from 
any  cause  to  absent  himself,  his  metairies  cease  to 
produce  him  any  thing.  The  estates  of  widows  and 
minors  usually  relapse  into  wasted"  When  we 
remember  the  number  of  proprietors  who  were  ne- 
cessarily absent  from  military  duties  or  other  causes, 
and  add  them  to  the  widows,  and  minors,  and  per- 
sons whose  affairs  were  deranged,  the  list  of  estates 
either  very  badly  cultivated,  or  not  cultivated  at 
all,  will  appear  formidable  indeed,  and  we  are  pre- 
pared to  hear  without  surprise  "of  the  exhausted 
state  of  the  province"  and  the  "abandonment  of 
many  metairie  estates  for  want  of  cattle,  and  the 
inability  of  the  proprietors  to  provide  stock ^." 

The  causes  which,  under  the  eyes  of  Turgot, 
produced  these  effects  in  the  Limosin,  must  act 
more  or  less  in  all  the  metayer  countries  of  Europe, 
and  must  produce  much  of  the  poverty  to  be  observed 
in  them. 

»  Arthur  Young.  *  Turgot,  Tom.  VI.  p.  203,  204. 

^  Ibid.  Tom.  IV.  p.  302. 

Rents.  105 

Metayer  rents  may  increase,  it  is  clear,  from  two   ^^^^  ^; 
causes,  from  an  increase  of  the  whole  produce  effected    ^^^  g"' 

by  the   greater  skill  or  industry  of  the  tenant,    or    

from  an  increase  of  the  landlord's  proportion  of  the  ^^"*y^"- 
produce,  the  amount  of  the  produce  itself  remain- 
ing the  same.  When  rent  increases,  and  the  pro- 
duce remains  stationary,  the  country  at  large  gains 
nothing  by  the  increase ;  its  means  of  paying  taxes, 
of  supporting  fleets  and  armies,  are  just  what  they 
were  before :  there  has  been  a  transfer  of  wealth, 
but  no  increase  of  it;  but  when  metayer  rents  in- 
crease, because  the  produce  has  become  larger,  then 
the  country  itself  is  richer  to  that  extent ;  its  power 
of  paying  taxes,  of  supporting  fleets  and  armies 
has  been  increased ;  there  has  been  an  increase  of 
wealth,  not  a  mere  transfer  from  one  hand  to  an- 
other of  what  before  existed.  Such  an  increase 
of  rents  indicates  also  another  increase  of  wealth 
as  extensive,  and  more  beneficial,  which  is  found 
in  the  augmentation  of  the  revenues  of  the  metayers 
themselves,  whose  half  the  produce  is  augmented 
to  precisely  the  same  extent  as  the  landlord's. 

The  existence  of  rents  upon  the  metayer  system, 
is  in  no  degree  dependent  upon  the  existence  of 
different  qualities  of  soil  or  of  different  returns  to 
the  stock  and  labor  employed.  The  landlords  of 
any  country  who,  with  small  quantities  of  stock, 
have  quantities  of  land,  sufficient  to  enable  a  body 
of  peasant  laborers  to  maintain  themselves,  would 
continue  to  derive  a  revenue  as  landowners  from 
sharing  in  the  produce  of  the  industry  of  those 
laborers,  though  all  the  lands  in  the  country  were 
perfectly  equal  in  quality. 

106  Rents. 

Book  I.         Jq   metayer   countries   the  wages   of    the  main 
^slct  e"    ^^^y   ^^   *^^    people    depend   upon    the   rent    they 

pay.     The   quantity    of  produce   being    determined 

Metayers,  y^^  ^^ie  fertility  of  the  soil,  the  extent  of  the  me- 
tairie,  and  the  skill,  industry,  and  efficiency  of  the 
metayer,  then  the  division  of  that  produce,  on 
which  division  his  wages  depend,  is  determined  by 
his  contract  with  the  landlord.  In  like  manner  the 
amount  of  rent  in  such  countries  is  determined  by 
the  amount  of  wages.  The  whole  amount  of  produce 
being  decided  as  before,  the  landlord's  share,  or  the 
rent,  depends  upon  the  contract  he  makes  with  the 
laborer,  that  is,  upon  the  amount  deducted  as  wages. 
Of  the  three  large  classes  of  peasant  rents,  metayer 
rents  prevail  the  least  extensively.  They  spread  over 
a  portion  of  the  cultivated  surface  of  the  earth 
considerably  less  than  those  in  which  labor  rents  or 
ryot  rents  predominate.  But  they  occupy  countries 
which  have  long  been  the  seats  of  nations  eminent  in 
the  foremost  ranks  of  civilized  people,  and  which  are 
likely  for  many  ages  to  be  among  the  most  distinguished 
depositaries  of  the  knowledge  and  the  arts  of  mankind. 
These  too  are  agricultural  nations  :  that  is,  by  far 
the  greater  part  of  their  productive  population  is 
employed  in  agriculture.  The  extent  of  their  wealth 
must  be  mainly  dependent,  therefore,  on  the  success 
of  their  agriculture,  and  the  success  of  their  agri- 
culture will  be  determined  in  a  great  degree  by  the 
nature  of  the  conditions  under  which  the  land  is 
occupied,  and  by  the  character  of  their  tenantry. 

Not  only  the  wealth  of  a  nation,  but  the  compo- 
sition of  society,  the  extent  and  the  respective  in- 
fluence of  the  different  classes  of  which  it  consists, 

Rents.  107 

are  powerfully  affected  by  the  efficiency  of  agriculture.    Book  i. 
The  extent  of  the  classes  maintained  in  non-agricul-    sect.  e. 
tural  employments   throughout   the  world,  must  be 

determined  by  the  quantity  of  food  which  the  culti-  ^'^'^y"*- 
vators  produce  beyond  what  is  necessary  for  their 
own  maintenance.  The  agriculturists  of  England  for 
instance  produce  food  sufficient  to  maintain  them- 
selves, and  double  their  own  numbers.  Now  the 
existence  of  this  large  non-agricultural  population, 
the  wealth  and  influence  of  its  employers,  and  of 
those  persons  who  traffic  in  the  produce  of  its 
industry,  affigct  in  a  very  striking  manner  the 
actual  elements  of  political  power  among  the  Eng- 
lish, their  practical  constitution,  and  their  national 
character  and  habits.  To  the  absence  of  such  a  body 
of  non-agriculturists  and  of  the  wealth  and  influence 
which  accompany  their  existence,  we  may  trace  many 
of  the  political  phenomena  to  be  observed  among  our 
continental  neighbours.  If  the  agriculture  of  those 
neighbours  should  ever  become  so  efficient,  as  to 
enable  them  to  maintain  a  non-agricultural  popu- 
lation, at  all  proportionable  to  our  own,  they  may 
perhaps  approximate  to  a  social  and  political  or- 
ganization similar  to  that  seen  here.  At  all  events 
they  will  have  the  means  of  doing  so.  I  am  giving, 
it  will  be  remembered,  no  opinion  on  the  desirable- 
ness of  such  an  approximation,  but  there  can  be 
no  question  as  to  the  striking  effects  the  change 
must  produce  on  their  habits  and  institutions,  and 
on  the  amount  of  their  national  strength  and  ex- 
ternal influence. 

That  no  very  marked  change  in  the    efficiency 
of   agriculture,    and    in    the    relative   numbers    of 

108  Rents, 

Book  I.    agricultural    and    non-agricultural    population    will 
aJue!^    take  place  in  any  nation,  while  the  metayer  system 

remains  in  full   force,   is  what   we  are  entitled  to 

Metayers,  ^ssume,  from  the  view  we  have  already  taken  of 
the  inherent  faults  and  of  the  past  effects  of  that 
system.  The  actual  prevalence  of  metayer  rents 
therefore,  their  modifications,  their  gradual  progress 
in  some  cases  towards  different  forms  of  holding,  in 
others,  the  sturdy  resistance  the  system  offers  to 
the  assaults  of  time  and  even  to  the  wishes  and 
the  efforts  of  those,  who  would  willingly  rid  them- 
selves of  it ;  these  are  all  circumstances  to  he  studied 
carefully  by  those  who  would  discern  the  causes 
of  the  actual  state  of  some  of  the  most  interesting 
countries  in  Europe,  or  speculate  upon  the  progress 
of  future  changes  either  in  their  political  and 
social  institutions,  or  in  their  relative  strength 
and  power  as  nations. 

To  these  claims  to  an  attentive  examination 
we  add  another  of  not  less  importance,  which  has 
been  already  incidentally  mentioned,  namely,  the 
strict  connection  which  metayer  rents  have  (in  com- 
mon with  the  other  systems  of  peasant  rents)  with 
the  wages  of  by  far  the  larger  portion  of  the 
industrious  population  of  countries  in  which  they 
prevail.  This  connection  brings  their  effects  into 
close  contact  with  the  comforts,  the  character  and 
condition  of  an  important  division  of  the  great 
family  of  mankind,  and  is  alone  sufficient  to  secure 
to  them,  in  all  their  details  and  variations,  the 
anxious  attention  of  the  statesman  and  practical 


CHAP.  IV.    SECT.  I. 

On  Ryot  Rents. 

Ryot  Rents  are,  with  a  few  exceptions,  pecu-  BookI. 
liar  to  Asia\  They  are  produce  rents  paid  by  g^^.^  j^' 
a  laborer,  raising  his  own  wages  from  the  soil,  to  ^___- 
the  sovereign  as  its  proprietor.  They  are  usually  ^^ 
accompanied  by  a  precarious  right  on  the  part  of  the 
tenant,  to  remain  the  occupant  of  his  allotment  of 
land,  while  he  pays  the  rent  demanded  from  him. 
These  rents  originate  in  the  rights  of  the  sovereign, 
as  sole  proprietor  of  the  soil  of  his  dominions. 
Such  rights,  we  have  seen,  have  been  acknowledged 
at  some  period  by  most  nations.  In  Europe  they 
have  disappeared  or  become  nominal;  but  the  Asiatic 
sovereigns  continue  to  be,  as  they  have  been  for 
a  long  series  of  ages,  the  direct  landlords  of  the 
peasant  tenants,  who  maintain  themselves  on  the 
soil  of  their  dominions.  Indications  present  them- 
selves occasionally,  which  would  lead  us  to  conclude 
that  in  portions  of  that  quarter  of  the  globe,  a  state 
of  things  once  existed,  under  which  the  rights  to 
the  land  must  have  been  in  a  different  state  from 
that  in  which  we  see  them:  but  it  was  in  an  an- 
tiquity so  remote,  as  to  baffle  all  attempts  at  investi- 
gation.     Within  the  period  of  historical  memory. 

*  They  have  been  introduced  by  Asiatics  into  Turkey  in 
Europe.  They  exist  in  Egypt;  and  may  perhaps  hereafter  be 
traced  in  Africa. 

110  Rents. 

Book  I.    all  the  great  empires  of  Asia  have  heen  overrun  by 
Sxci \     foreigners;    and  on  their  rights  as  conquerors   the 

claim  of  the  present  sovereigns  to  the  soil  rests.  China, 

^°J^  India,  Persia,  and  Asiatic  Turkey,  all  placed  at  the 
outward  edge  of  the  great  basin  of  central  Asia, 
have  been  subdued  in  their  turn  by  irruptions  of 
its  tribes,  some  of  them  more  than  once.  China 
seems  even  at  this  moment  hardly  escaping  from 
the  danger  of  another  subjugation.  Wherever  these 
Scythian  invaders  have  settled,  they  have  established 
a  despotic  form  of  government,  to  which  they  have 
readily  submitted  themselves,  while  they  were  oblig- 
ing the  inhabitants  of  the  conquered  countries  to 
submit  to  it. 

The  uniformity  of  the  political  system  adopted 
by  them,  is  a  striking  peculiarity ;  and  becomes 
more  striking,  when  seen  in  contrast  with  the  free 
constitutions  established  by  the  Germanic  hordes, 
which,  in  the  western  division  of  the  old  world,  took 
possession  of  countries  more  wealthy  and  civilized 
than  their  own.  It  has  been  supposed,  that  the 
difference  may  be  traced  to  the  previous  habits  of 
the  Tartars  as  pastoral  tribes.  But  the  Germans 
too  consisted  of  pastoral  tribes,  and  the  difference 
of  their  institutions  must  be  sought  in  some  other 
cause  than  this.  It  may  be  found  perhaps,  in  a  great 
measure,  in  the  different  character  of  their  original 
seats.  Amidst  the  fastnesses  and  morasses  of  his 
native  woods,  the  German,  when  not  actually  at 
war,  was  in  tolerable  security ;  his  habits  of  military 
obedience,  we  know,  relaxed,  and  he  enjoyed  that 
rude  and  indolent  freedom,  which  the  warlike  bar- 
barian never  relinquished  but  from  necessity-     Some 

Rents.  Ill 

of  the  tribes  of  the  AfFghans  exhibit  remarkable  Book  i. 
instances  of  the  different  degrees  of  submission  to  yg^j'j^' 
authority,   produced  among  pastoral   nations   under 

the  prevalence  of  the  different  feelings  of  security,  ^"'^ 
or  of  peril.  They  are  only  slowly  and  partially 
abandoning  migratory  habits:  during  part  of  the 
year  they  are  stationary,  in  a  country  in  which 
they  feel  secure;  in  another  part  of  the  year  they 
move  to  distant  pastures.  While  safe  and  tranquil, 
their  institutions  are  as  free  as  those  of  the  ancient 
Germans,  and  in  many  points  of  detail  resemble  them 
with  remarkable  closeness.  When  they  begin  to  move, 
and  the  approach  of  danger  and  the  necessity  of 
united  exertion  begin  to  be  felt,  they  pass  at  once 
to  a  despotic  form  of  government:  a  Khan,  whose 
authority,  while  they  are  stationary  and  safe,  is 
disclaimed,  is  at  once  invested  with  supreme  power; 
and  so  helpless  do  they  feel  without  him,  that 
when  from  private  views  he  has  wished  to  remain 
at  court,  or  employ  himself  elsewhere,  he  has  been 
recalled  by  their  clamor,  to  receive  their  submis- 
sion, and  to  put  himself  at  their  head'.     But  the 

'  Elphinstone's  Caubul,  Vol.  II.  p.  215.  When  the  people 
are  collected  into  camps,  they  are  governed  by  their  own 
Mooshirs,  without  any  reference  to  the  Khaun,  and  when  they 
are  scattered  over  the  country,  they  subsist  without  any  govern- 
ment at  all :  but  when  a  march  is  contemplated,  they  imme- 
diately submit  to  the  Khaun,  and  where  they  have  to  pass 
an  enemy's  country,  he  is  appointed  head  of  the  Chelwashtees, 
assumes  an  absolute  authority,  and  becomes  an  object  of  respect 
and  anxiety  to  all  the  tribe.  A  proof  of  the  importance  of  the 
Khaun  during  a  march,  is  shewn  by  the  conduct  of  the  Nausser 
at  one  time,   Avhen  Junus    Khan,   their  present  chief,  refused 


112  Rents. 

Book  I. 

Chap.  iv. 

Tartars  of  central  Asia  inhabit  vast  plains,  traversed 
Sect.  1.  in  every  direction  by  mounted  enemies.  The  task 
of  guarding  their  property  and  lives,  is  a  constant 
Rents.  campaign;  and  their  habits  of  military  submission 
have  no  intervals  of  relaxation :  they  are  born,  and 
they  die  in  them.  It  is  possible  that  when  they 
became  masters  of  the  fair  empires  of  exterior  Asia, 
they  found  already  established,  in  some  instances, 
the  right  of  the  sovereign  to  the  soil ;  not  as  a 
remote  or  nominal  superior,  but  as  the  actual  and 
direct  proprietor.  Such  a  right  may  have  been  a  relic 
of  former  conquests,  or  in  some  remoter  instances, 
the  growth  of  circumstances,  similar  to  those  which 
induced  the  natives  of  Africa,  Peru,  or  New  Zea- 
land to  acknowledge,  on  applying  themselves  to 
agriculture,  the  right  of  their  sovereigns  to  dispose 
of  the  territory  which  the  nation  occupied.  How- 
ever this  may  be,  it  is  certain  that  the  Tartars 
have  every  where  either  adopted  or  established 
a  political  system,  which  unites  so  readily  with 
their  national  habits  of  submission  in  the  people, 
and  absolute  power  in  the  chiefs :  and  their  conquests 
have  either  introduced  or  re-established  it,  from  the 
Black  Sea  to  the  Pacific,  from  Pekin  to  the  Ner- 
budda.      Throughout   agricultural   Asia,    (with   the 

to  accompany  them  in  one  of  their  migrations.  He  was  anxious 
to  remain  in  Damaun  with  200  or  300  of  his  relations,  to  assist 
Surwur  Khaun  against  the  Vizeerees ;  but  his  resolution  occa- 
sioned great  distress  in  the  tribe,  who  declared  it  was  impossible 
to  march  without  their  Khaun.  So  earnest  were  their  repre- 
sentations, that  Junus  was  at  last  compelled  to  abandon  his 
former  design,  and  to  accompany  them  on  their  march  to 

Rents.  113 

exception  of  Russia)  the  same  system  prevails.    There  Boo*  i- 
are  neither  capital  nor  capitalists  able  to  produce,      *^''^' 

Sect.  1. 

from   stores   already   accumulated,   the  maintenance    

of  the  bulk  of  the  people.  The  peasant  must  have  5^°^ 
land  to  till  or  must  starve.  The  body  of  the  nation 
is  therefore  in  every  case  dependent  upon  the  great 
sovereign  proprietor  for  the  means  of  obtaining 
food.  Of  the  remainder  of  the  people,  the  most 
important  part  is,  if  possible,  more  dependent :  they 
live  in  the  character  of  soldiers  or  civilians,  on 
a  portion  of  the  revenue  collected  from  the  peasants, 
assigned  to  them  by  the  bounty  of  their  chief:  inter- 
mediate and  independent  classes  there  are  none ;  and 
great  and  little  are  literally  what  they  describe  them- 
selves to  be,  the  slaves  of  that  master  on  whose  pleasure 
the  means  of  their  subsistence  wholly  depend.  The 
experience  of  many  long  tenturies  of  monotonous 
oppression  has  sufficiently  proved  the  tendency  of 
such  a  state  of  things,  once  established,  to  perpetuate 
the  despotism  it  creates. 

Although  a  similar  system  prevails  in  all  the 
great  empires  of  Asia,  it  presents  itself  with  dis- 
tinct modifications  in  each;  arising  from  differences 
in  the  climate,  soil,  and  even  government ;  for 
despotism  itself  has  its  varieties.  Of  these  modifica- 
tions a  very  slight  sketch  must  suffice  here. 

SECTION     II.  Book  I. 

Chap.  iv. 
On  Ryot  Rents  in  India.  sect.  2. 

It  seems  probable,  that  the  ancient  Egyptians,    7 
and  the  Indian  worshippers  of  the  Brahminical  idols  Ryots. 


114  Rents. 

Book  I.    had   a  common  origin,   but  whence   they  came ;  or 
^^2.     ^^  ^^^^  s^^*®  ^^  things  their   peculiar  institutions 

originated,  can  only  be  dimly  conjectured.     In  India, 

Ry^  ^y®^  ^^^^^  ^^^^  subsisted  since  the  invasion  of  the 
people  whom  the  Brahmins  led,  or  accompanied; 
perhaps  longer.  The  sacred  books  of  the  Hindoos 
found  the  claims  of  the  sovereigns  to  the  land  on 
the  rights  of  conquest. 

"  By  conquest,  the  earth  became  the  property  of 
the  holy  Parasa  Rama ;  by  gift  the  property  of  the 
Sage  Casyapa ;  and  was  committed  by  him  to  Csha- 
triyas  (the  military  cast)  for  the  sake  of  protection, 
because  of  their  protective  property ;  successively  held 
by  powerful  conquerors,  and  not  by  subjects  cultiva- 
ting the  soil.  But  annual  property  is  acquired  by 
subjects,  on  payment  of  annual  revenue,  and  the  king 
cannot  lawfully  give,  sell,  or  dispose  of  the  land  to 
another  for  that  year.  But  if  the  agreement  be  in 
this  form,  "  you  shall  enjoy  it  for  years,"  for  so  many 
years  as  the  property  is  granted,  during  so  many 
years  the  king  should  never  give,  sell,  or  dispose  of 
it  to  another,  yet  if  the  subject  pay  not  the  revenue, 
the  grant  being  conditional,  is  annulled  by  the  breach 
of  the  condition.  But  if  no  special  agreement  be 
made,  and  another  person  desirous  of  obtaining  the 
land,  stipulate  a  greater  revenue,  it  may  be  granted 
to  him  on  his  application  \" 

With  the  spirit  and  letter  of  this  often  quoted 
law,  the  practice  of  the  various  sovereigns  of  India, 
native  and  foreign,  has  very  accurately  corresponded. 

'  Colebroke's  Dig.  of  Hindoo  Law,  Vol.  I.  p.  460. 

Rents.  115 

Those  subordinate  rights  of  the  people  to  temporary    ^°°*  'j 
possession  which  have  grown  up  in  peaceful  times,    Sect.  2. 
have  ever  remained  precarious  and  imperfect :   but    *" 
the  right  of  the  ruler  is  the  right  of  the  strongest ;  Ryots. 
and  when  either  intestine  wars  or  foreign  invasion 
have  brought  a  new  master  to  a  district,  his  sword 
has  restored  the  sovereign's  claim  in  all  its  primitive 

The  proportion  of  the  produce  taken  by  the 
sovereign,  has  on  some  ground  or  other  perpetually 
varied;  that  is,  when  he  has  pretended  to  confine 
himself  to  any  definite  proportion  at  all.  The  laws 
seem  to  fix  it  at  one-sixth,  but  in  practice,  this  law 
or  rule  has  been  utterly  disregarded.  Strabo  men- 
tions, that  in  his  time,  €(Xtiv  »)  y^copa  Bao-tXt/c>)  iraca, 
fiicrOov  6  avTr]v  cttI  Terdprai^  epya^ovrat  twv  KapirwVf 
where  by  straining  the  Greek  a  little  either  way, 
the  rent  may  appear  to  have  been  one-fourth  or 
three-fourths  of  the  produce.  The  Mogul  con- 
querors exacted  their  rents  in  proportions,  which 
varied  considerably  with  the  quality  of  the  land, 
more  particularly  with  its  command  of  water.  But 
no  definite  rate  of  rent  has  ever  prevailed  long  in 

Under  the  Hindoo  governments,  there  had  been 
a  disposition  to  allow  many  subordinate  claims  to 
the  possession  of  the  soil,  and  to  offices  connected 
with  the  collection  of  the  revenue,  to  become  here- 
ditary. Of  the  offices,  the  most  important  was  that 
of  the  Zemindars.  These  were  entrusted  with  the 
collection  of  the  revenue  in  districts  of  different 
sizes,   were  entitled  to  a  tenth  of  its  amount,  had 


116  Rents. 

Book  I.    sometimes  lands  assigned  to  them,  and  were  endowed 
Sect.  2.     ^^^^  ^®^y  considerable  authority.     They  were  much 

• in  the  habit  of  making  advances  of  seed  and  stock 

R^t^  to  assist  the  cultivator,  and  of  stipulating  for  re- 
payment in  the  shape  of  produce.  When  the  son 
had  been  allowed  to  succeed  the  father  for  some 
generations  in  such  an  office,  the  ties  and  interests 
which  connected  him  with  the  people  under  him 
were  so  many  and  strong,  that  the  displacing  a 
Zemindar,  unless  for  gross  misconduct  or  for  failure 
in  payment  of  the  sovereign's  rent,  was  thought 
by  himself  and  the  ryots,  to  be  an  act  of  tyrannical 
oppression.  The  ryots  very  generally  occupied  their 
lands  in  common,  and  were  collected  into  villages 
under  officers  of  their  own,  who  distributed  to  the 
cultivators  and  tradesmen  their  respective  shares  of 
the  produce.  The  village  offices  and  various  trades 
became  hereditary.  The  ryot  too  himself,  the  actual 
cultivator,  was  yet  less  likely  than  the  superior 
officers  to  be  disturbed  in  the  possession  of  his 
lands.  Provided  the  sovereign's  share  of  the  produce 
was  paid,  he  had  no  interest  in  disturbing  the 
humble  agents  of  production,  and  a  very  great 
interest  in  retaining  them.  From  similar  reasons, 
a  claim  to  mortgage  or  sell  his  possessory  interest, 
was  suffered  to  establish  itself. 

But  then  all  these  subordinate  interests  were 
only  respected  in  peaceful  times,  and  under  moderate 
governors;  and  these  were  rare  in  India.  It  has 
been  hitherto  the  misfortune  of  that  country,  to 
see  a  rapid  succession  of  short  lived  empires:  the 
convulsions  amidst  which  they  were  established,  have 

Rents.  117 

hardly  subsided,  before  the   people   have   begun  to   Book  i. 
be  harassed  by   the  consequences  of  their  weakness    s^c^^.' 

and  decay.     While  any  really  efficient  general  go-    

vernment  has  existed,  it  has  been  the  obvious  interest,  Jj'y^J^ 
and  usually  the  aim  of  the  chiefs  to  act  upon  some 
definite  system ;  to  put  some  limit  to  their  own 
exactions;  to  protect  the  ryots,  and  foster  cultiva- 
tion by  giving  reasonable  security  to  all  the  interests 
concerned  in  it.  The  Mogul  emperors  acted  in 
this  spirit,  while  exercising  a  power  over  the  soil, 
which  had  no  real  bounds,  but  those  which  they 
prescribed  to  themselves.  But  as  the  empire  grew 
feeble,  and  the  subordinate  chieftains,  Mahometan, 
or  Hindoo,  began  to  exercise  an  uncontrolled  power 
in  their  districts,  their  rapacity  and  violence  seem 
usually  to  have  been  wholly  unchecked  by  policy 
or  principle.  There  was  at  once  an  end  to  all  system, 
moderation,  or  protection;  ruinous  rents,  arbitrarily 
imposed,  were  collected  in  frequent  military  circuits, 
at  the  spear's  point ;  and  the  resistance  often  at- 
tempted in  despair,  was  unsparingly  punished  by 
fire  and  slaughter. 

Scenes  like  these,  in  the  ancient  history  of  India, 
have  been  frequently  renewed,  and  succeeded  rapidly 
short  intervals  of  repose.  They  were  of  course  dis- 
astrous. Half  the  rich  territory  of  that  country  has 
never  been  cultivated,  though  swarming  with  a 
population  to  whom  the  permission  to  make  it  fruit- 
ful in  moderate  security,  would  have  been  happiness; 
and  nothing  can  well  exceed  the  ordinary  poverty 
of  the  ryots,  and  the  inefficiency  of  their  means  of 

118  Rents. 

Book  I.  The  English,  when  they  became  the  repr«senta- 

secl  2.^    tives  of  the  Mogul  emperor  in  Bengal,    began   by 

pushing  to  an  extreme  their  rights  as  proprietors  of 

Ryo?^  ^^^  s^^l '  ^^^  neglected  the  subordinate  claims  of  the 
Zemindars  and  ryots,  in  a  manner  which  was  felt 
to  be  oppressive  and  tyrannical,  although  not  perhaps 
in  strictness  illegal.  A  great  reaction  has  taken 
place  in  their  views  and  feelings ;  perceiving  the 
necessity  of  restoring  confidence  to  the  cultivators, 
and  anxious  to  shake  off  the  imputation  of  injustice 
and  tyranny,  they  showed  themselves  quite  willing 
to  part  with  their  character  of  owners  of  the  soil, 
and  to  retain  simply  that  of  its  sovereign.  An  agree- 
ment was  in  consequence  entered  into,  by  which 
the  Zemindars  assumed  a  character,  which  certainly 
never  before  belonged  to  them,  that  of  the  direct 
landlords  of  those  ryots,  between  whom  and  the 
supreme  government  they  had  before  been  only 
agents ;  agents,  however,  possessed  of  many  imperfect 
but  prescriptive  rights  to  an  hereditary  interest  in 
their  office.  The  government,  instead  of  exacting 
rents,  was  content  to  receive  a  fixed  and  permanent 
tax;  for  which  the  new  landlords  were  to  be  re- 

There  can  be  no  doubt  of  the  fair  and  even  bene- 
volent spirit,  in  which  this  arrangement  was  made. 
It  seems  however  to  be  now  generally  admitted,  that 
the  claims  of  the  Zemindars  were  overrated,  and  that 
if  something  less  had  been  done  for  them,  and  some- 
thing more  for  the  security  and  independence  of  the 
ryots,  the  settlement,  without  being  less  just  or  gene- 
rous, would  have  been  much  more  expedient. 

Rents.  119 


On  Ryot  Rents  in  Persia. 

Of   all   the   despotic   governments  of  the  east,    ^°°^  ^' 
that   of  Persia  is   perhaps   the   most  greedy,    and    sect.  3. 

the  most  wantonly  unprincipled;    yet  the  peculiar    

soil  of  that  country  has  introduced  some  valuable  Ry"!^ 
modifications  of  the  general  Asiatic  system  of  ryot 
rents,  and  forced  the  government,  unscrupulous  as 
it  is,  to  treat  the  various  interests  in  the  land 
subordinate  to  those  of  the  crown,  with  considerable 

One  of  the  most  remarkable  geological  features 
of  the  old  world,  is  that  great  tract  of  sandy  desert, 
which  extends  across  its  whole  breadth,  and  imposes 
a  peculiar  character  on  the  tribes  which  roam  over 
its  surface,  or  inhabit  its  borders.  It  forms  the 
shores  of  the  Atlantic  on  the  western  coast  of 
Africa,  and  constitutes  the  Zahara  or  great  sandy 
desert,  which  has  contributed  to  conceal  so  long 
the  central  regions  of  that  quarter  of  the  globe 
from  European  curiosity.  It  forms  next  the  sur- 
face of  Egypt  with  the  exception  of  the  valley  of 
the  Nile ;  stretches  across  the  Arabian  wastes,  to 
Syria,  Persia,  and  upper  India;  and  turning  from 
Persia  northwards,  threads  between  Mushed  and 
Herat^  the  Elburz  and  Parapomisan  mountains, 
parts  of  the  Caucasian  or  Himalayan  chain ;  runs 
north-eastward  through  Tartary,  and  rounding  the 
northern  extremity   of   China,    sinks  finally,   it    is 

^  For  the  course  of  these  sands  on  the  confines  of  Persia 
and  Tartary,  see  Frazer's  Khorassan,  p.  253. 

120  Rents. 

Book  I.  supposed,  beneath  the  waves  of  the  Pacific.  The 
2*^3"*  greater  part  of  the  territories  of  Persia  either  consist 
of  this  desert,  or  border  on  it ;  and  partake  so  much 

Persian  ^f  j^-g  parched  and  sterile  character,  that  the  eye 
at  a  short  distance  can  hardly  trace  the  boundary\ 
This  soil  can  be  made  fruitful  only  by  irrigation. 
But  water,  s^ays  Frazer,  is  the  most  scanty  boon  of 
nature  in  Persia ;  its  rivers  are  small  and  few,  and 
rivulets,  by  no  means  common,  can  only  be  applied 
to  a  very  limited  quantity  of  cultivation.  In  the 
best  districts,  the  small  proportion  of  cultivated  land 
resembles  an  Oasis  in  the  desert,  serving  by  contrast 
to  make  all  around  it  more  dreary'. 

As  the  natural  springs  and  streams  are  insufficient 
to  support  the  cultivation  by  which  the  people  must 
exist,  the  Persians  establish  with  great  labor  and 
expense  artificial  sources,  called  cannauts.  They  sink 
on  the  sides  of  hills  long  chains  of  wells,  of  different 
depths,  and  communicating  by  a  channel,  which  con- 
ducts to  the  lowest  the  water  collected  in  them : 
thence  the  stream  is  distributed  over  the  fields  which 
it  is  to  fertilize.  These  works,  always  costly  and 
important,  are  of  various  sizes ;  the  chain  of  wells 
is  said  to  be  occasionally  thirty-six  miles  in  length, 
and  a  cannaut  is  spoken  of  in  Chorassan,  into  which 
a  horseman  may  ride  with  his  lance  upon  his  shoulder'; 

^  Frazer.  '  Frazer,  p.  l63. 

3  This  perhaps  is  a  fable,  but  the  cannauts  must  sometimes 
discharge  very  considerable  bodies  of  water.  Mr.  Frazer,  who 
first  met  with  them  at  Kauzeroon,  says:  The  cannauts  or 
subterranean  canals  have  frequently  been  described,  and  con- 
stitute almost  the  only  species  of  improvement  requiring  outlay, 


Rents  121 

more   ordinarily,    the  channels  are   small,    and  the   Book  r. 
chain  of  wells  does  not  exceed  two  miles  in  length.   g^^udJ' 

Whenever,  by  these  or  other  means,  water  is  brought    

to  the  surface,  scenes  of  oriental  vegetation  spring  Ry"[JI* 
up  rapidly  and  luxuriantly.  If  from  war,  or  oppres- 
sion, or  accident,  or  time,  the  works  of  man  are 
destroyed  or  neglected,  the  scene  of  fertility  vanishes, 
and  the  desert  resumes  its  domain.  The  plain  of 
Yezid-Khaust  in  the  route  from  Shiraz  to  Teheran, 
was  once  celebrated  for  its  beauty  and  fertility: 
Mr.  Frazer  passed  over  it  in  1821,  and  thus  describes 
it.  "  The  plain  of  Yezid-Khaust,  which  extends  in 
the  line  of  our  route  all  the  way  to  Komaishah,  pre- 
sented, towards  the  latter  place,  a  truly  lamentable 
picture  of  the  general  decline  of  prosperity  in  Persia. 
Ruins  of  large  villages  thickly  scattered  about,  vdth 
the  skeleton-like  walls  of  caravanserais  and  gardens, 
all  telling  of  better  times,  stood  like  memento  moris 
to  kingdoms  and  governments;  and  the  whole  plain 

still  carried  on  in  Persia:  because  the  property  thus  acquired 
is  protected,  and  the  profit  considerable,  and  not  very  remote: 
indeed^  they  are  most  commonly  constructed  by  persons  in 
authority,  who  dispose  of  the  water  thus  brought  to  the  surface 
at  very  high  rates.  Several  new  ones  have  been  lately  made 
in  the  Kauzeroon  valley,  and  some  notion  may  be  formed  of 
the  value  of  such  property,  when  it  is  imderstood  that  the 
small  stream  at  Dalakee  brings  in  a  revenue  of  4000  rupees 
a  year;  and  that  one  cannaut,  lately  opened  by  Kulb  Allee 
Khan,  governor  of  Kauzeroon,  affords  a  stream  at  least  five  or 
six  times  more  considerable.  Among  other  uses,  it  serves  to 
irrigate  a  garden  which  contains  some  of  the  finest  orange 
trees  both  bitter  and  sweet,  shaddock,  lime,  and  pomegranate 
trees,  that  can  be  found  in  the  country.  Frazer's  Khorassan, 
p.  79. 

122  Rerits. 

Book  I.    wBS  dotted  over  with  small  mounds,  which  indicate 
^P'i^*   the   course  of  cannauts,   once  the  source  of  riches 

Sect.  3.  .  ,  ' 

and  fertility,  now  all  choked  up  and  dry,  for  there 

Persian  jjg  neither  man  nbr  cultivation  to  require  their  aid\" 
The  district  of  Nishapore  was  another  celebrated 
seat  of  Persian  cultivation.  "It  was  added,"  says 
Mr.  Frazer,  (speaking  of  the  information  he  received 
concerning  this  place ;)  "  that  in  the  different  depart- 
ments of  Nishapore  they  reckon  14000  distinct  villages, 
all  inhabited,  and  irrigated  by  12000  cannauts  and 
18  small  rivers  from  the  mountains.  This  mag- 
nificent detail  is  no  doubt  greatly  exaggerated,  being 
but  a  reiteration  of  the  traditional  account  of  this 
place  in  its  days  of  high  prosperity :  no  such  vast 
population  or  cultivation  now  exists;  most  of  the 
villages  are  ruinous;  the  cannauts,  the  remains  of 
which,  covering  the  plain,  may  serve  almost  to  attest 
the  truth  of  the  above  statement,  are  now  choked 
up  and  dry"." 

Now  the  principal  revenue  of  the  monarchs  of 
Persia  is  derived  from  the  produce  of  the  earth,  of 
which  they  are  the  supreme  owners.  It  could  not  es- 
cape even  their  eyes,  blinded  as  they  are  by  greediness 
and  habits  of  rapine,  that  the  cost  of  thus  wresting 
cultivated  spots  from  the  desert,  and  maintaining 
them  in  fruitfulness,  would  never  be  incurred,  un- 
less the  undertakers  felt  really  secure  that  their 
property  in  them  would  be  subsequently  respected. 
By  the  laws  of  Persia,  therefore,  he  who  brings 
water  to  the  surface,  where  it  never  was  before,  is 

>  Frazer,  p.  118.  *  Frazer,  p.  405. 

Rents.  123 

guaranteed  by  the  sovereign  in  the  hereditary  pos-   ^!^°^^^ 
session  of  the  land  fertilized  by  him,  and  while  a    sect.  3. 
reserved  rent  of  one-fifth  of  the  produce  is  paid  to    — ; — 
the  Shah,  the  possessor  disposes  of  it  as  he  pleases,  Ryots. 
and  is  effectually  its  proprietor,  subject  to  a  rent 
charge.     If  he  chooses  to  let  out  the  water,  at  money 
rents,  to  other  persons  who  have  lands,  which  already 
pay  the  royal  rent  in  produce,  then  the  rent  of  the 
water  is  his  own :  the  crown  profits  only  by   addi- 
tional  fertility  thus   bestowed   upon   spots,    in   the 
produce   of  which  it  shares.     Among  the  Persians 
of  property,   most   usually  those   in   office,   making 
cannauts  is  a  favorite  speculation ;  the  villagers,  too, 
often  join  and   construct   them,  and  these   are  the 
best  proofs  that  this  guarantee  of  the  sovereign  is 
faithfully  observed. 

Making  proper  allowances,  however,  for  the  more 
steady  respect  for  subordinate  interests,  which  the 
outlay  for  artificial  irrigation  makes  necessary  on  the 
part  of  the  Persian  sovereigns,  their  management  of 
the  territory  they  own  is  very  similar  to  what  we 
have  seen  prevails  in  India.  The  ryots  inhabiting 
villages  cultivate  the  soil  in.  common,  or  in  allotments 
determined  among  themselves ;  their  interest  in  the 
land  is  hereditary.  "The  original  customary  law 
concerning  property,"  says  Mr.  Frazer,  *'  clearly  pro- 
vided with  much  consideration  for  the  security  of  the 
ryot.  The  rights  of  the  villager  were  guarded  at 
least  as  carefully  as  these  of  his  lord :  his  title  to 
cultivate  his  portion  of  land  descends  to  him  from  the 
original  commencement  of  the  village  to  which  he 
belongs,  and  can  neither  be  disputed  or  refused  him, 

1  a4  Rents. 

Boor  I.    nor  can  he  forfeit  it,  nor  can  the  lord  of  the  village 
Chap.  IV.   j,jggj.  ^^y  j.yQ^;^  while  he  conducts  himself  well  and 

pays  his  portion  of  the  rent\" 

Persian  'p^g  jQ^it  at  prcscnt  cxactcd  from   the    ryot   is 

one-fifth  part  of  the  produce;  it  has  varied  and 
been  differently  assessed  at  the  discretion  of  dif- 
ferent Princes,  more  particularly  Nushirvan  and 
Timour.  The  Persians  now  state  that  by  ancient 
custom  only  one-tenth  was  due :  that  the  other 
tenth  was  agreed  to  be  paid  on  a  promise  that  the 
saaduraut  or  irregular  taxes  should  cease;  but  that 
though  the  additional  tenth  has  been  exacted,  the 
taxes  remain  at  least  as  oppressive  as  before*. 

Above  these  hereditary  cultivators  is  a  subordinate 
proprietor,  often  called  by  Frazer  the  lord  of  the  vil- 
lage, who  is  entitled  to  one-tenth  of  the  crop.  In 
this  man  the  Indian  Zemindar  is  immediately  recog- 
nized: but  though  the  word  Zemindar  was  ori- 
ginally Persian,  it  does  not  appear  to  be  in  familiar 
use  in  Persia  at  present.  The  right  of  hereditary 
succession  to  this  intermediate  interest  cannot  have 
been  fully  recognized  for  any  very  long  period. 
Chardiu  states  that  in  his  time  the  practice  of 
taking  leases  for  99  years  from  the  crown  was  only 
beginning  to  establish  itself  Bernier  distinctly 
denies  that  such  a  thing  as  private  property  in  land 
was  known  in  Persia.  The  interests  of  this  class 
of  men  have  naturally  gathered  strength  and  per- 
manence in  Persia,  even  more  rapidly  than  in  India, 
from  the  necessity  of  advances  for  the  purposes  of 

'   Frazer,  p.  208.  "  Frazer,  p.  211. 

Rents.  125 

irrigation,  which  were  usually  made  by  them.    Their    Book  i. 
right  to  the  tenth  of  the  produce  seems  to  be  now    gg^J'^* 

so  completely  severed  from  the  duties  of  collection,     

that  the  jealousy  of  the  Persian  monarchs  forbids  Ryots." 
them  sometimes  even  to  reside  in  their  villages, 
to  prevent,  it  is  said,  their  tyrannizing  over  the 
ryots  ^  more  probably  to  get  rid  of  their  interference 
in  resisting  the  exactions  of  the  government  officers, 
which  it  is  found  they  can  do  more  effectually  than 
the  ryots  themselves^ 

There  are  persons  in  Persia  who  boast,  perhaps 
with  truth,  that  these  estates,  as  they  call  them,  have 
been  in  the  hands  of  their  family  for  a  long  succession 
of  years.  Did  there  exist  a  real  body  of  landed  pro- 
prietors in  Persia,  as  secure  in  the  possession  of  their 
heritage  as  these  men  are  in  their  limited  interests, 
the  despotism  of  the  Shah  would  at  once  be  shackled. 
But  men  entitled  to  collect  one-tenth  of  the  produce 
from  tenants  hereditary  like  themselves,  while  the 
great  sovereign  proprietor  is  collecting  a  fifth  at  the 
same  time,  are  little  likely  to  acquire  an  influence  in 
the  country,  sufficient  to  protect  either  the  subor- 
dinate ryots  or  themselves ;  and  accordingly  the  chief 
weight  of  what  is  probably  one  of  the  worst  govern- 
ments in  the  world,  rests  upon  the  necks  of  the 
cultivators.     "  There  is  no  class  of  men  (says  Frazer) 

'  Frazer,  p.  208. 

*  Frazer,  p.  390.  The  Ketkhoda  (head  man  of  the  village) 
observed  that  those  ryots  who  account  with  their  landlords, 
are  better  off  than  those  who  account  directly  to  government, 
from  the  officers  of  which  the  poorer  classes  suffer  great  ex- 

126  Rents. 

Book  I.    "  whosc   situatioii  prcscnts  a  more  melancholy  pic- 
chap.  u.    a  ^^j.^  q£  oppressioH   and  tyranny  than  the  farmers 

"  and  cultivators   of  the   ground  in  Persia.     They 

Persian  «  Jivc  coutiuually  uudcr  a  system  of  extortion  and 
"  injustice,  from  which  they  have  no  means  of  es- 
"  cape,  and  which  is  the  more  distressing,  because 
"it  is  indefinite  both  in  form  and  extent,  for  no 
"  man  can  tell  when,  how,  or  to  what  amount  de- 
•'  inands  upon  him  may  without  warning  be  made. 
"  It  is  upon  the  farmers  and  peasantry  that  the 
"whole  extortion  practised  in  the  country  finally 
"  alights.  The  king  wrings  from  his  ministers  and 
"  governors ;  they  must  procure  the  sums  required 
"  from  the  heads  of  districts,  who  in  their  turn 
"  demand  it  from  the  zabuts  or  ketkhodahs  of  vil- 
"  lages,  and  these  must  at  last  squeeze  it  from  the 
"  ryots ;  each  of  these  intermediate  agents  must  also 
"  have  their  profits,  so  that  the  sum  received  by 
"  the  king  bears  small  proportion  to  that  which  is 
"paid  by  the  ryots.  Every  tax,  every  present, 
"  every  fine,  from  whomsoever  received  or  demanded 
"  in  the  first  instance,  ultimately  falls  on  them, 
"  and  such  is  the  character  of  their  rulers,  that  the 
"  only  measure  of  these  demands  is  the  power  to 
"  extort  on  the  one  hand,  and  the  ability  to  give 
"or  retain  on  the  other'." 

'  Frazer,  n.  173. 

Reyits.  127 


On  Ryot  Rents  in  Turkey. 

When  the  Turks,  after  subduing  the  provinces   book  l 
of  the  Greek  Empire,  finally  quartered  themselves    gg^t  7 

upon  its   ruins,  the  foundation  of  their  system   of   

revenue  and  government,  like  that  of  other  Tartar  r"o^*^ 
tribes,  rested  upon  an  assumption  that  their  leader 
had   become  the   legitimate   proprietor  of  the  con- 
quered soil. 

The  rent  imposed  upon  the  cultivators  appears 
to  have  been  originally  calculated  at  one-tenth  of 
the  gross  produce ;  and  the  estimated  value  of  each 
district,  at  that  rate,  was  at  a  very  early  date 
registered  in  the  treasury.  The  registers  are  still 
used,  in  accounting  with  the  Pachas  of  the  different 
provinces.  But  as  the  rent  paid  by  each  district 
never  varies,  whatever  changes  take  place  in  its  cul- 
tivation, the  decay  of  agriculture  and  population 
has  loaded  many  of  the  peasants  with  much  heavier 
burthens  than  they  at  first  bore.  One-seventh  of 
the  produce  where  the  cultivator  is  a  Turk,  one- 
fifth  where  he  is  a  Christian,  have  appeared  to  later 
travellers  in  Greece  to  be  about  the  average  actual 
payment  to  the  crown. 

The  violence  with  which  the  Turks  exemplified 
in  practice  their  Asiatic  notions  of  the  supreme 
right  of  their  leader  to  the  soil,  will  be  best  judged 
of  by  their  next  measure. 

The  Sultan  granted  a  considerable  portion  of  his 
proprietary  rights  to  others,  for  the  purpose  of  form- 

128  Rents. 

Book  I.    inff  a  sort  of  feudal  militia.     The  officers  of  rank 
Chap.  IV.   j.gj,gjyg^  allotments  of  land  called  ziamets  and  timars, 

Sect.  4.  _        _  ' 

in  which  their  rights  represent  those  of  the  sovereign, 

Turkish      g^^^j  ^\^q  numbcr  created  of  these  exceeded  50,000. 


The  ziamet  differed  from  the  timars  only  in  being 
larger.  For  these  grants  they  were  bound  to  perform 
military  services,  with  a  specified  number  of  men. 
Th6ir  forces  constituted,  till  the  rise  of  the  Janissa- 
ries, the  main  force  of  the  Empire,  and  amounted 
it  is  said  to  150,000  men.  Similar  grants  are  known 
in  India  by  the  name  of  laghires,  in  Persia  by 
that  of  Teecools,  but  they  were  established  less 
systematically  in  those  countries  than  in  Turkey. 
There  these  lands  have  never  become  hereditary. 
They  are  still  strictly  lifehold.  In  the  early  days 
of  their  institution,  use  was  made  of  them  to  excite 
military  emulation.  On  the  death  of  the  possessor, 
one  of  the  bravest  of  his  comrades  was  immediately 
appointed  to  his  estate,  and  one  timar  has  been  known 
to  be  thus  granted  eight  times  in  a  single  campaign \ 
The  disposal  of  them,  however,  has  long  become 
wholly  venal.  An  Aga  not  unfrequently  purchases 
during  his  life  the  grant  of  the  reversion  to  his  family; 
but  if  he  neglects  to  do  this,  his  relatives  are  dispos- 
sessed at  his  death,  unless  they  outbid  all  other  appli- 
cants". With  the  exception  of  these  interests  for  life, 
and  of  the  estates  vested  in  the  Ulcma  or  expounders 
of  Mohammedan  law,  there  are  no  distinctly  recog- 
nized proprietary  rights  in  Turkey.  Although  there, 
as  among  the*  ryots  of  India  and  Persia,  and  else- 

'  Thornton,  p.  l66.  '  Oliv.  p.  19'2. 

Rents.  129 

where   throughout   the   east,  there   exist   claims   to    ^^^  ^' 

Chap.  iv. 

the  hereditary  possession  of  land.     While  the  pea-    sect.  4. 

sant  pays  to  the  Sultan,   or  to  the  Aea  to  whose    

Zaim  or  Timar  he  belongs,  the  legal  portion  of  Ryots! 
his  produce,  his  right  to  occupy  and  transmit  his 
lands  is  not  contested,  and  is  secure,  as  far  as  any 
thing  is  secure  there.  In  Greece  the  lands  were, 
before  the  present  convulsion,  very  generally  cul- 
tivated by  the  ancient  mortitae  or  metayer  tenants, 
who  paid  to  the  Agas  half  of  their  produce. 
Whether  the  lands  thus  cultivated  consist  exclu- 
sively of  the  domain  lands  attached  to  the  Aga's 
Timar,  or  whether  this  rent  is  paid  in  considera- 
tion of  stock  advanced  to  the  ray  ah,  to  enable 
him  to  cultivate  better  the  lands  of  which  he  is 
himself  the  hereditary  tenant,  T  have  no  materials 
for  judging.  It  is  probable  that  mortitae  are  found 
of  both  descriptions. 

There  are  evidently  some  advantages  in  the 
Turkish  system  compared  with  those  of  India  or 
Persia.  The  permanence  and  moderation  of  the 
miri  or  land  rent,  is  a  very  great  one.  If  collected 
on  an  equitable  system,  that  rent  would  be  no 
more  than  a  reasonable  land  tax,  and  the  universal 
proprietorship  of  the  Sultan  would  be  reduced  to 
a  mere  nominal  or  honorary  superiority,  like  that 
claimed  by  many  of  the  Christian  monarchs  of  Eu- 
rope. We  may  add,  that  the  Turkish  government 
has  never  been  so  wholly  unequal  to  the  task  of 
controlling  its  officers,  as  the  feeble  dynasties  of 
Delhi  in  their  decline:  nor  so  rapacious  and  capri- 
cious in  its  own  exactions  as  the  Shahs  of  Persia: 


130  Rents. 

Book  I.  -^^^  j^g  comparative  moderation  and  strength  have 
Sect.  4.  remained  useless  to  its  unhappy  subjects,  from  a 
Tii^dliT  degree  of  supineness  and  indifference  as  to  the 
Ryots.  malversations  of  its  distant  officers,  which  may  be 
traced,  partly  perhaps  to  the  bigotry  which  has 
made  the  commander  of  the  faithful  careless  about 
the  treatment  his  Christian  subjects  received  from 
Mahometan  officers:  and  partly  to  an  obstinate 
ignorance  of  the  ordinary  arts  of  civilized  govern- 
ments, which  the  vanity  of  the  Ottomans  has  che- 
rished as  if  it  were  a  merit,  and  which  their  bigotry 
has  also  helped  to  recommend  to  their  good  opinion. 
Near  the  capital,  and  in  the  countries  where  the 
Turks  themselves  are  numerous,  there  are  some 
bounds  to  the  oppression  of  the  Pachas  and  Agas. 
The  Turks,  secure  of  justice  if  they  can  contrive 
to  be  heard  by  the  superior  authorities,  have  found 
the  means  of  protecting  their  persons  and  proper- 
ties, by  belonging  to  societies,  which  are  bound  as 
bodies,  to  seek  justice  for  the  wrongs  of  individual 
members.  But  in  the  distant  provinces  no  sect  is 
safe.  The  cry  of  the  oppressed  is  easily  stifled, 
and  if  faintly  heard,  seems  habitually  disregarded. 
The  Sultan  indeed  abstains,  with  singular  forbear- 
ance, from  any  attempts  to  raise  the  revenue  paid 
to  himself;  but  provided  it  is  regularly  transmitted 
by  the  Pachas  of  the  provinces,  he  cares  little  by 
what  means,  or  with  what  additional  extortions,  it 
is  wrung  from  the  people.  The  consequences  are 
such  as  might  be  expected.  The  jealousy  of  the 
government  allows  the  Pachas  to  remain  in  office 
but   a  short  time,  the   knowledge  of  this  inflames 

Rents.  131 

their    cupidity,    and   the   wretched   cultivators    are   Book  i. 
allowed  to  exist  in  peace  upon  the  soil,  only  while   ^*f  4^^* 

they  submit  to  exactions  which  have  no  other  limit    

than  the  physical  impossibility  of  getting  more  from  Jy^^^^ 

Volney  has  accurately  described  the  effect  of  this 
state  of  things  in  Syria  and  Egypt.  "  The  absolute 
"  title  of  the  Sultan  to  the  soil  appears  to  aggra- 
"  vate  the  oppression  of  his  officers.  The  son  is 
"  never  certain  of  succeeding  to  the  father,  and  the 
"  peasantry  often  fly  in  desperation  from  a  soil  which 
"  has  ceased  to  yield  them  the  certainty  of  even 
"  a  bare  subsistence.  Exactions,  undiminished  in 
"  amount,  are  demanded,  and  as  far  as  possible 
"  extorted,  from  those  who  remain ;  depopulation 
"goes  on,  the  waste  extends  itself,  and  desolation 
"  becomes  permanent."  It  is  thus  that  a  scanty 
and  most  miserable  remnant  of  the  people  are  found 
occupying  tracts,  which  were  the  glory  of  ancient 
civilization;  and  of  which  the  climate  and  the  soil 
are  such,  that  men  would  multiply  and  would  en- 
rich, almost  without  effort,  themselves  and  their 
masters;  did  the  general  government  think  lit  to 
protect  its  subjects  with  half  the  energy  it  some- 
times exerts,  to  force  the  spoilers  to  disgorge  a 
miserable  pittance  of  plunder  into  the  imperial 


132  Rents 


Of  Ryot  Rents  in  China. 

Book  I.         We  know  enough  of  China  to  be  aware,  that 
Sect  r    *^^  sovereign   is  t^iere,    as   elsewhere  in    Asia,  the 

sole   proprietor   of  the   soil :   but   we   hardly   know 

RyoTs!^  enough  to  judge  accurately  of  the  peculiar  modi- 
fications which  this  system  of  imperial  ownership 
has  received  in  that  country.  The  manner  in  which 
the  Chinese  government  assumes  possession  of  the 
land,  and  imposes  a  rent  upon  it  in  the  case  of  new 
conquests,  is  curiously  illustrated  by  a  letter  of 
a  victorious  Chinese  commander  to  the  Emperor, 
published  by  Mr.  Patton*.  Although  one-tenth  of 
the  produce  is  the  nominal  rent  in  China,  it  is  not 
unlikely  that  a  very  different  portion  is  actually 
collected.  It  would  be  very  interesting  to  have 
more  multiplied  and  detailed  observations  on  the 
practical  effects  of  the  system  among  the  Chinese, 
than  the  jealousy  of  the  government  is  likely  soon 
to  give  opportunity  for  obtaining. 

The  progress  and  effects  of  ryot  rents  in  China, 
must  almost  necessarily  have  been  very  different  from 
those  exhibited  by  India,  Persia,  or  Turkey.  In 
these  last  countries,  the  vices  of  the  government, 
and  the  oppression  and  degradation  resulting  from 
them,  have  left  us  little  means  of  judging  what 
might  be  the  results  of  the  system  itself,  if  con- 
ducted for  any  considerable  period  by  an  adminis- 
tration  more   mild  and   forbearing,  and   capable   of 

^  Patton,  232,  233. 

Rents.  133 

giving  security  to  the  persons  and  property  of  the  p°°*.'' 
cultivators.  In  China  this  experiment  seems  to  have  Scct.5. 
been  fairly  tried.  The  arts  of  government  are,  to  Chinese 
a  certain  extent,  understood  by  the  laboriously  edu-  ^^°*^' 
cated  civilians,  by  whose  hands  the  affairs  of  the 
Empire  are  carried  on ;  the  country  has,  till  very 
lately,  been  remarkably  free  from  intestine  convul- 
sion or  serious  foreign  w^ars,  and  the  administration 
has  been  vs^ell  organized,  pacific  and  efficient.  The 
whole  conduct  indeed  of  the  Empire,  presents  a 
striking  contrast  to  that  of  the  neighbouring  Asiatic 
monarchies,  the  people  of  which,  accustomed  to  see 
violence  and  bloodshed  the  common  instruments  of 
government,  express  great  wonder  at  the  spectacle  of 
the  Chinese  statesmen  upholding  the  authority  of 
the  state  rather  by  the  pen  than  the  sword\  One 
effect  we  know  to  have  followed  from  the  public 
tranquillity;  the  spread  of  agriculture,  and  an  in- 
crease of  people  much  beyond  that  of  the  neighbour- 
ing countries.  While  not  one  half  of  India  has 
ever  been  reclaimed,  and  less  still  of  Persia,  China 
is  as  fully  cultivated,  and  more  fully  peopled  than 
most  European  monarchies. 

Whether  any  class  of  subordinate  proprietors 
exists  between  the  crown  and  the  persons  paying 
produce   rents   like   to    the   Zemindars,    of    India; 

^  Frazer,  Appendix,  p.  114.  See  Frazer's  account  of  the 
Chinese  administration  in  the  provinces  nearest  Khorasan,  and 
of  the  effect  which  the  spectacle  of  that  administration  pro- 
duced on  the  minds  of  merchants  and  travellers  from  other 
Asiatic  states. 

134.  Rents. 

^^^  ^-    whether   the  persons   actually   liahle    for  the    pro- 
ft^i[2    duce  rents,  are  the  cultivating  peasants  themselves, 

or  a  class  above  them,  we  have  no  sufficient  data 

Sour  *®  determine.  In  some  cases,  at  least,  the  actual 
cultivators  are  persons  hiring  the  ground  from  those 
liable  for  the  crown,  and  paying  them  half  the 

There  are  abundant  indications  that  the  Chinese 
population  has,  in  some  parts  of  the  Empire,  in- 
creased beyond  the  number  for  which  the  territory 
can  produce  a  plentiful  subsistence,  and  that  they 
are  in  a  state  of  the  most  wretched  penury.  The 
very  facilities  for  increase  which  good  government 
gives  to  a  ryot  population,  will  usually  be  followed 
by  such  a  consequence,  if  in  the  progress  of  their 
multiplication  a  certain  advance  has  not  taken  place 
in  the  habits  and  civilization  of  the  mass  of  the 
people.  The  absence  of  that  improvement  may  flow 
from  various  causes,  which  in  unfolding  the  subject 
of  population,  it  will  be  part  of  oiir  business  to  dis- 
tinguish. We  know  enough  of  China  to  be  sure, 
that  obstacles  to  the  amelioration  of  the  habits  and 
character  of  the  mass  of  the  people,  exist  in  abundance 
there,  and  therefore  the  rapid  spread  of  population, 
up  to  a  certain  point,  would  certainly  be  the  first  effect 
of  a  mild  administration.  According  to  Klaproth, 
the  number  of  ryots  (paysans  contribuables)  at  the 
time  of  the  Mantchou  conquest  in  1644,  was  re- 
gistered as  twenty-six  millions,  while  all  other  classes 
were  estimated  at  eleVen  millions.  And  since  that 
time  he  calculates  that  the  whole  population  has 

Rents.  135 

The  revenue  of  China  amounts  to  about  eighty-    ^^^^  ^• 
four  millions  of  ounces  of  silver.     Of  this  revenue,     o  ^^  l^' 

sect.  5. 

about   thirty-three   millions  is  paid  in  money,    and    

about  fifty-one  millions    in   grains,   rice,    &c.,    con-  ^hinese 

J     /•  1  O  ^  '  '  Ryots. 

sumed  for  the  most  part  by  the  local  administration 
of  the  provinces.  A  portion  only,  of  the  value  of 
about  six  millions  of  ounces,  is  annually  remitted 
to  Pekin.  The  receipt  of  this  huge  revenue,  in 
the  primitive  shape  of  agricultural  produce,  is  a 
striking  proof  that  the  power  and  means  of  the 
Emperor  of  China,  like  those  of  other  eastern 
sovereigns,  are  intimately  connected  with,  or  rather 
founded  on,  his  rights  as  universal  proprietor  of 
the  soiP. 

There  are  other  considerable  countries  in  Asia 
in  which  we  have  good  reason  to  conclude,  that 
ryot  rents  prevail ;  consisting,  first,  of  the  countries 
between  Hindostan  and  China,  the  Birman  Em- 
pire, and  its  dependencies.  Cochin  China,  &c. ;  and, 
secondly,  of  the  states  inhabited  by  agricultural 
Tartars,  north  of  the  Himalaya  mountains  and  east 
of  Persia,  Samarcan,  Bokhara,  and  the  states  of 
Little  Bucharia:  but  the  peculiar  modifications  the 
system  may  receive  in  these  countries,  and  the  de- 
tails of  the  relations  there  between  landlord  and 
tenant,  are  at  present  even  more  out  of  our  reach 
than  in  the  case  of  China. 

^  Bulletin  des  Sciences,  No.  5,  Mai  1829-  p.  314. 


Mixture  of  other  Rents  with  Ryot. 

Book  I.  On  examining,  where  we  are  able  to  do  it  mi- 

g^^"g^'  nutely,  the  state  of  the  countries  in  which  ryot  rents 

prevail,  we   are   immediately  struck   with   the   fact, 

SlnL  *^^^  ^^^y  ^^®  sometimes  mixed  up  with  both  labor 
rents  and  metayer  rents.  The  land  then  presents 
a  strange  complication  of  interests.  There  is  an 
hereditary  tenant,  liable  to  a  produce  rent  to  the 
crown,  and  by  custom  and  prescription  irremove- 
able  while  he  pays  it.  This  same  tenant,  receiving 
some  assistance  in  seed  and  implements,  pays  a 
second  produce  rent  to  another  person,  whose  cha- 
racter fluctuates  between  that  of  an  hereditary  officer 
of  the  crown,  and  that  of  a  subordinate  proprietor  ; 
and  sometimes  a  third  rent  is  paid  to  this  subordi- 
nate proprietor,  in  labor,  exerted  on  land  cultivated 
for  his  exclusive  benefit. 

To  begin  with  the  labor  rents,  thus  engrafted 
on  ryot  rents.  The  Ryot  of  Bengal  often  grants  a 
plot  of  his  ground  to  a  ploughman  who  assists  him. 
This  is  a  pure  labor  rent,  paid  by  the  under-tenant. 
The  Zemindars  often  demand  from  the  ryots  them- 
selves, a  certain  quantity  of  labor,  to  be  performed 
on  their  domain  lands.  This  demand  is  often  ex- 
cessive, and  is  the  source  of  grievous  oppression  and 
frequent  complaint,  both  in  India  and  Persia.  When 
moderate  however,  it  is  considered  legal,  and  then 
forms  another  labor  rent,  paid  by  the  ryot  himself. 

Rents.  137 

The    Agas   of    Turkey    often    force   the   rayahs   of  Booi  i. 
their  Zaims  or  Timars,  to  perform  a  certain  number     s^q' 

of  days'  work  on  their  own  private  farms.     This  is    

unquestionably  altogether  an   illegal  exaction  ;    but  ^°Jj 
is  so  customary  that  it  must  be  counted  in  practice 
as  an  additional  rent. 

Metayer  rents  too  have  a  constant  tendency  to 
spring  up  and  engraft  themselves  on  ryot  rents 
throughout  Asia,  wherever  the  moderation  and  ef- 
ficiency of  the  government  is  such  as  to  ensure  pro- 
tection to  the  property  advanced  to  the  cultivator, 
or  wherever  the  relation  of  the  party  advancing  stock 
to  the  cultivator,  is  such  as  to  give  a  peculiar  power 
of  enforcing  payment,  and  a  peculiar  interest  in  as- 
sisting cultivation.  Both  the  government  and  the 
Zemindars  in  India  occasionally  advance  seed  and 
stock  to  the  ryot.  The  government  reluctantly^  and 
only  when  it  cannot  avoid  it :  the  lands  thus  cul- 
tivated on  the  part  of  government,  are  called  coss  and 
eomar;  and  to  get  them  into  the  hands  of  ryots,  who 
can  cultivate  themselves,  seems  to  have  been  always 
an  object  of  policy.  The  Zemindars  more  readily 
and  habitually  make  such  advances,  and  as  their 
share  of  the  produce  is  then  regulated  wholly  by 
their  private  bargain  with  the  ryot,  he  no  doubt  is 
occasionally  much  oppressed:  but  this  is  not  always 
the  case.  In  Persia  particularly,  this  arrangement 
is  considered  the  best  for  the  tenant;  because  in  that 
country,  it  is  only  in  this  case,  that  the  Zemindar 
or  subordinate  proprietor  undertakes  to  ward  off 
the  extortion  of  the  officers  of  the  crown,  and  to 
settle  with  them  himself. 


Summary  of  Ryot  Rents. 

Book  I.         There  is  nothing  mischievous  in  the  direct  effect 

gect.7.     of  ryot  rents.    They  are  usually  moderate;   and  when 

■  restricted  to  a  tenth,  or  even  a  sixth,  fifth,  or  fourth 

g^u,        of  the   produce,   if  collected  peacefully   and   fairly, 

they   become  a  species  of  land  tax,  and   leave  the 

tenant   a   beneficial   hereditary   estate.      It   is   from 

their  indirect  effects,  therefore,  and  from  the  form  of 

government  in  which  they  originate,  and  which  they 

serve  to  perpetuate,  that  they  are  full  of  evil,  and 

are  found  in  practice  more  hopelessly  destructive  of 

the   property  and  progress  of  the  people,  than  any 

form  of  the  relation  of  landlord  and  tenant  known 

to  us. 

The  proprietary  rights  of  the  sovereign,  and 
his  large  and  practically  indefinite  interest  in  the 
produce,  prevent  the  formation  of  any  really  inde- 
pendent body  on  the  land.  By  the  distribution  of 
the  rents  which  his  territory  produces,  the  monarch 
maintains  the  most  influential  portion  of  the  re- 
maining population  in  the  character  of  civil  or  mili- 
tary officers.  There  remain  only  the  inhabitants  of 
the  towns  to  interpose  a  check  to  his  power :  but 
the  majority  of  these  are  fed  by  the  expenditure  of 
the  sovereign  or  his  servants.  We  shall  have  a 
fitter  opportunity  to  point  out,  how  completely  the 
prosperity,  or  rather  the  existence,  of  the  towns  of 
Asia,  proceeds  from  the  local  expenditure  of  the 
government.      As   the    citizens    arc    thus    destitute 

Rents.  139 

from  their  position  of  real  strength,  so  the  Asiatic    ^ook  i. 
sovereigns,    having   no  hody   of  powerftil  privileged    sect.  7. 

landed  proprietors  to   contend   with,   have  not  had    

the  motives  which  the  European  monarchs  had,  iJnta. 
to  nurse  and  foster  the  towns  into  engines  of 
political  influence,  and  the  citizens  are  proverbially 
the  most  helpless  and  prostrate  of  the  slaves  of  Asia. 
There  exists  nothing  therefore  in  the  society  beneath 
him,  which  can  modify  the  power  of  a  sovereign,  who 
is  the  supreme  proprietor  of  a  territory  cultivated  by 
a  population  of  ryot  peasants.  All  that  there  is  of 
real  strength  in  such  a  population,  looks  to  him  as 
the  sole  source  not  merely  of  protection  but  of  sub- 
sistence :  he  is  by  his  position  and  necessarily  a 
despot.  But  the  results  of  Asiatic  despotism  have 
ever  been  the  same:  while  it  is  strong  it  is  dele- 
gated, and  its  power  abused  by  its  agents ;  when 
feeble  and  declining,  that  power  is  violently  shared 
by  its  inferiors,  and  its  stolen  authority  yet  more 
abused.  In  its  strength  and  in  its  weakness  it  is 
alike  destructive  of  the  industry  and  wealth  of  its 
subjects,  and  all  the  arts  of  peace;  and  it  is  this 
which  makes  that  peculiar  system  of  rents,  on 
which  its  power  rests,  particularly  objectionable  and 
calamitous  to  the  countries  in  which  it  prevails. 

In  countries  cultivated  by  ryots,  the  wages  of 
the  main  body  of  the  people  are  determined  by  the 
rent  they  pay,  as  is  the  case  it  will  be  remembered 
under  all  varieties  of  peasant  rents.  The  quantity 
of  produce  being  determined  by  the  fertility  of  the 
soil,  the  extent  of  his  allotments  of  land,  and  the 
skill,  industry,  and  efficiency  of  the  ryot :  the  divi- 
tion  of  that  produce  on  which  his  wages  depend,  is 

14C  Rent*. 

Book  I.   determined  by  his  contract  with  the  landlord,  that 
gg*^y^'   is,  by  the  rent  he  pays. 

In  like  manner    the    amount    of    rent    in   such 

^'  countries    is    determined    by    the   amount  off  wages. 

The  amount  of  the  produce  being  decided  as  before, 
the  landlord's  share,  the  rent,  depends  upon  the 
contract  he  makes  with  the  laborer,  that  is,  upon  the 
amount  deducted  as  wages. 

The  existence  and  progress  of  rents  under  the 
ryot  system  is  in  no  degree  dependent  upon  the 
existence  of  different  qualities  of  soil,  or  different 
returns  to  the  stock  and  labor  employed  on  each. 
The  sovereign  proprietor  has  the  means  of  enabling 
a  bod  of  laborers  to  maintain  themselves,  who  with- 
out  the  machinery  of  the  earth  with  which  he  sup- 
plies them,  must  starve.  This  would  secure  him  a 
share  in  the  produce  of  their  labor,  though  all  the 
lands  were  perfectly  equal  in  quality. 

Ryot  rents  may  increase  from  two  causes,  from 
an  increase  of  the  whole  produce,  effected  by  the 
greater  skill,  industry,  and  efficiency  of  the  tenant: 
or  from  an  increase  of  the  sovereign's  proportion 
of  the  produce ;  the  produce  itself  remaining  the 
same,  and  the  tenant's   share  becoming  less. 

When  the  rent  increases  and  the  produce  re- 
mains stationary,  the  increase  indicates  no  augment- 
ation of  public  wealth.  There  has  been  a  transfer 
of  wealth,  but  no  increase  of  it ;  and  one  party 
is  impoverished  by  the  precise  amount  that  an- 
other is  enriched.  But  when  ryot  rents  increase 
because  the  produce  has  become  larger,  the  country 
is  enriched  by  an  addition  of  wealth  to  the  full 
amount  of  the  increase.     Its  power  of  maintaining 

Rents.  141 

fleets   and   armies,   and   all  the   elements   of  public    .!!*'°^/" 

■••  Lnap.  IV. 

strength,  have  been  augmented  to  that  extent ;   there    Sect.  7. 

has  been  a  real  increase  of  wealth,  not  a  mere  trans-    

fer  of  what  before  existed,  from  one  hand  to  another.  Rents. 
Such  an  increase  too  indicates  an  augmentation  of 
the  revenues  of  the  ryots  themselves.     If  the  tenth 
or  sixth  of  the  sovereign  has  doubled,  the  nine-tenths 
or  five-sixths  of  the  ryot  have  doubled  also. 

The  increase  of  rents  which  is  thus  seen  to  go 
hand  in  hand  with  the  improvement  of  the  general 
wealth  and  strength,  is  that  which  alone  in  the  long 
run  can  really  benefit  the  landlord.  While  an  increase 
of  produce  rents  has  its  source  in  greater  crops,  it 
may  go  on  till  the  skill  of  man  and  the  fertility  of 
the  earth  have  reached  their  maximum,  that  is,  in- 
definitely. Asiatic  tenants,  cultivating  with  their 
own  soil  and  climate,  and  the  skill  and  energy 
of  the  best  European  farmers,  might  create  produce 
much  greater  than  any  yet  known  in  that  quarter 
of  the  globe,  and  be  greatly  improving  their  own 
revenue  while  they  were  paying  increased  rents  to 
the  sovereign.  And  while  the  prosperity  of  the  ryots 
thus  kept  pace  with  the  increase  of  rents,  the  result 
would  be,  not  merely  an  increase  of  the  crops  on  the 
lands  already  cultivated,  but  the  rapid  spread  of  cul- 
tivation to  other  lands.  A  protected  and  thriving  and 
increasing  population  would  speedily  reclaim  the  rich 
wastes  of  Turkey  and  India,  and  call  back  their  va- 
nished fertility  to  the  deserted  plains  of  Persia,  mul- 
tiplying at  every  step  both  the  direct  revenue  of  the 
sovereign  landlord,  and  his  resources  in  the  general 
wealth  of  his  people.  Taking  Asia  as  a  whole,  such 
a  progress  seems  visionary,  but  it  is  occasionally  exhi- 

142  Rents. 

Book  I.  bited,  on  a  smaller  scale,  in  a  manner  which  very  dis- 
g^J^i'*  tinctly  proves  it  possible,  and  indeed  easy  on  the 
-^ greatest'.     An  increase  of  rents  derived  from  a  sta- 

^1^  tionary  produce,  and  a  diminution  of  the  ryot's 
share,  are  unfortunately  more  common  in  Asia,  and 
lead  to  no  such  results.  In  the  state  in  which  the 
ryots  usually  exist,  to  decrease  their  revenue  is  to 
injure  if  not  to  destroy  their  eflficiency  as  agents  of 
cultivation.  A  serious  invasion  of  it  is  very  usually 
followed,  and  carried  to  a  certain  extent  it  must  be 
followed,  by  the  desertion  of  the  cultivators  and  the 
abandonment  of  cultivation,  and  a  total  cessation 
of  rent.  The  greediness  of  eastern  rulers  ordinarily 
snatches  at  the  bait  of  present  gain,  and  overlooks 
or  disregards  the  very  different  ultimate  conse- 
quences which  follow  the  augmenting  their  landed 
revenues,  from  the  one,  or  from  the  other,  of  these 
sources  of  increase.  Hence  in  a  great  measure  the 
actual  state  of  Asia,  the  misery  of  the  people,  the 
poverty  and  feebleness  of  the  governments.  An  ex- 
amination into  the  nature  and  effects  of  ryot  rents, 
receives  an  almost  mournful  interest  from  the  con- 
viction, that  the  political  and  social  institutions  of 
the  people  of  this  large  division  of  the  earth,  are 
likely  for  many  long  ages  yet  to  come,  to  rest  upon 
them.  We  cannot  unveil  the  future,  but  there  is 
little  in  the  character  of  the  Asiatic  population, 
which  can  tempt  us  even  to  speculate  upon  a 
time,  when  that  future,  with  respect  to  them,  will 
essentially  differ  from  the  past  and  the  present. 

'  Appendix. 



Cottier  Rents. 

Under  the  head  of  cottier  rents,  we  may  include  Book  i. 
all  rents  contracted  to  be  paid  in  money,  by  pea-  ^^'^' 
sant  tenants,  extracting  their  own  maintenance  from  Cottier 

.1  •-,  Rents. 

the  soil. 

They  are  found  to  some  extent  in  various  coun- 
tries ;  but  it  is  in  Ireland  alone  that  they  exist 
in  such  a  mass,  as  palpably  to  influence  the  general 
state  of  the  country.  They  differ  from  the  other 
classes  of  peasant  rents  in  this  the  most  materially ; 
that  it  is  not  enough  for  the  tenant  to  be  prepared 
to  give  in  return  for  the  land  which  enables  him 
to  maintain  himself,  a  part  of  his  labor,  as  in  the 
case  of  serf  rents,  or  a  definite  proportion  of  the 
produce,  as  in  the  case  of  metayer  or  ryot  rents. 
He  is  bound,  whatever  the  quantity  or  value  of 
his  produce  may  be,  to  pay  a  fixed  sum  of  money 
to  the  proprietor.  This  is  a  change  most  difficult 
to  introduce,  and  very  important  when  introduced. 
Money  payments  from  the  occupiers,  are  by  no 
means  essential,  we  must  recollect,  to  the  rise  or 
progress  of  rents.  Over  by  far  the  greater  part  of 
the  globe  such  payments  have  never  yet  been  esta- 
blished. Tenants  yielding  plentiful  rents  in  pro- 
duce, may  be  quite  unable,  from  the  infrequency 
of  exchanges,  to  pay  even  small  sums  in  money,  and 
the  owners  of  the  land  may,  and  do,  form  an  afiSuent 


144  Rents. 

Book  I.  body..  consuming  and  distributing  a  large  proportion 
'^'^'  of  the  annual  produce  of  a  country,  while  it  is  ex- 
Cottier  tremely  difficult  for  them  to  lay  their  hands  on  very 
insignificant  sums  in  cash.  Money  rents,  indeed, 
are  so  very  rarely  paid  by  peasant  cultivators,  that 
where  they  do  exist  among  them,  we  may  expect  to 
find  the  power  of  discharging  them  founded  on  pe- 
culiar circumstances.  In  the  case  of  Ireland,  it  is  the 
neighbourhood  of  England,  and  the  connection  be- 
tween the  two  countries,  which  supports  the  system 
of  money  rents  paid  by  the  peasantry.  From  all 
parts  of  Ireland,  the  access,  direct  or  indirect,  to 
the  English  market,  gives  the  Irish  cultivators 
means  of  obtaining  cash  for  a  portion  of  their  pro- 
duce. In  some  districts,  it  even  appears  that  the 
rents  are  paid  in  money  earnt  by  harvest-work  in 
England ;  and  it  is  repeatedly  stated  in  the  evi- 
dence before  the  Emigration  Committee,  that,  were 
this  resource  to  fail,  the  power  of  paying  rents  would 
cease  in  these  districts  at  once.  Were  Ireland  placed 
in  a  remoter  part  of  the  world,  surrounded  by  nations 
not  more  advanced  than  herself,  and  were  her  cul- 
tivators dependent  for  their  means  of  getting  cash 
on  her  own  internal  opportunities  of  exchange ;  it 
seems  highly  probable,  that  the  landlords  would 
soon  be  driven  by  necessity  to  adopt  a  system  of 
either  labor  or  produce  rents,  similar  to  those  which 
prevail  over  the  large  portion  of  the  globe,  cultivated 
by  the  other  classes  of  peasant  tenantry. 

Once  established,  however,  the  effects  of  the  pre- 
valence of  cottier  rents  among  a  peasant  population 
are  important:  some  advantageous,  some  prejudicial. 

Rents.  145 

In    estimating    them,     we    labor    under    the    great   Book  i. 
disadvantage  of  having  to  form  our  general  conclu-    _^^' 
sions  from  a  view  of  a  single  instance,  that  of  Ire-  Cottier 
land.     Did   we  know   nothing   of  labor   rents   but 
what   we  collect   from   one   country,     Hungary   for 
instance,  how  very  deficient  would  have  been  notions 
of  their  characteristics. 

The  disadvantages  of  cottier  rents  may  be  ranged 
under  three  heads.  First,  the  want  of  any  exter- 
nal check  to  assist  in  repressing  the  increase  of  the 
peasant  population  beyond  the  bounds  of  an  easy 
subsistence.  Secondly,* the  want  of  any  protection 
to  their  interests,  from  the  influence  of  usage  and 
prescription  in  determining  the  amount  of  their  pay- 
ments. And,  thirdly,  the  absence  of  that  obvious 
and  direct  common  interest,  between  the  owners 
and  the  occupiers  of  the  soil,  which  under  the  other 
systems  of  peasant  rents,  secure  to  the  tenants  the 
forbearance  and  assistance  of  their  landlords  when 
calamity  overtakes  them. 

The  first,  and  certainly  the  most  important  dis- 
advantage of  cottier  rents  is  the  absence  of  those 
external  checks  (common  to  every  other  class  of 
peasant  rents)  which  assist  in  repressing  the  effects 
of  the  disposition  found  in  all  peasant  cultivators, 
to  increase  up  to  the  limits  of  a  very  scanty  sub- 

To  explain  this,  we  must,  to  a  slight  extent, 
anticipate  the  subject  of  population.  It  shall  be  as 
shortly  as  possible.  We  know  that  men's  animal 
power  of  increase  is  such,   as   to  admit  of  a  very 


146  Renta. 

Book  I.   rapid  replenishing    of    the    districts     they   inhabit. 
_^^'    When   their   numbers   are   as  great  as  their  terri- 
Cottier       tory  will  support  in  plenty,  if  the   effects   of  such 
a  power  of  increase  are  not  diminished,   their  con- 
dition must  get  worse.     If,  however,  the  effects  of 
their  animal  power  of  multiplication  are  diminished, 
this  must  happen,    either   from   internal  causes   or 
motives,  indisposing   them   to   its   full   exercise,   or 
from  external  causes  acting  independently  of  their 
will.    But  a  peasant  population,  raising  their  own 
wages  from  the  soil,    and  consuming  them  in  kind, 
whatever  may  be  the  form  of  their  rents,  are  uni- 
versally acted  upon  very  feebly  by  internal  checks, 
or   by   motives   disposing   them   to   restraint.     The 
causes  of  this  peculiarity  we   shall   have   hereafter 
to  point  out.     The  consequence  is,  that  unless  some 
external  cause,  quite  independent  of  their  will,  forces 
such  peasant  cultivators  to  slacken  their  rate  of  in- 
crease, they   will,   in  a  limited   territory,  whatever 
be  the  form  of  their  rents,  very  rapidly   approach 
a   state  of  want  and  penury,   and  will  be  stopped 
at  last  only  by   the  physical  impossibility   of  pro- 
curing subsistence.     Where  labor  or  metayer  rents 
prevail,  such  external  causes  of  repression  are  found 
in  the  interests  and  interference  of  the  landlords : 
where  ryot   rents  are  established,  in  the  vices  and 
mismanagement  of  the  government^:   where  cottier 

^  Where  the  phenomenon  can  be  observed  of  a  mild  and 
efficient  government  over  a  race  of  ryot  tenants,  as  in  China, 
they  are  found  to  increase  with  extraordinary  rapidity. 

Rents.  147 

rents   prevail,   no   such   external   causes    exist,   and    ®*^*  '• 

the    unchecked     disposition    of    the    people     leads 

to  a  multiplication  which  ends  in  wretchedness.  Cottier 
Cottier  rents,  then,  evidently  differ  for  the  worse 
in  this  respect  from  serf  and  metayer  rents.  It  is 
not  meant  of  course  that  serfs  and  metayers  do  not 
increase  till  their  numhers  and  wants  would  alone 
place  them  very  much  at  the  mercy  of  the  pro- 
prietors, but  the  obvious  interests  of  those  proprie- 
tors leads  them  to  refuse  their  assent  to  the  further 
division  of  the  soil;  and  so  to  withhold  the  means 
of  settling  more  families,  long  before  the  earth  be- 
comes thronged  with  a  multitudinous  tenantry,  to 
which  it  can  barely  yield  subsistence.  The  Russian 
or  Hungarian  noble  wants  no  more  serf  tenants  than 
are  sufficient  for  the  cultivation  of  his  domain ;  and 
he  refuses  allotments  of  land  to  any  greater  num- 
ber, or  perhaps  forbids  them  to  marry.  The  power 
of  doing  this  has  at  one  time  or  other  existed  as 
a  legal  right  wherever  labor  rents  have  prevailed. 
The  owner  of  a  domain  cultivated  by  metayers,  has 
an  interest  in  not  multiplying  his  tenants,  and  the 
mouths  to  be  fed,  beyond  the  number  necessary  to 
its  complete  cultivation.  When  he  refuses  to  sub- 
divide the  ground  further,  fresh  families  can  find 
no  home,  and  the  increase  of  the  aggregate  num- 
bers of  the  people  is  checked.  The  thinness  of  the 
population  in  ryot  countries  is  ordinarily  caused  by 
the  vices  and  violence  of  the  government,  and  there 
is  no  question  that  this  is  what  keeps  so  large  a 
portion  of  Asia  ill  peopled  or  desolate.  But  when 
cottier   rents   have   established   themselves,   the   in- 


148  Rents. 

Book  1.    fluencc  of  the  landlord  is  not  exerted  to  check  the 

Chap.  V.  .      .        . 

multiplication    of   the   peasant    cultivators,    till    an 

Cottier  extreme  case  arrives.  The  first  effects  of  the  in- 
creasing  numbers  of  the  people,  that  is,  the  more 
ardent  competition  for  allotments,  and  the  general 
rise  of  rents,  seem  for  a  time  unquestionable  ad- 
vantages to  the  landlords,  and  they  have  no  direct 
or  obvious  motive  to  refuse  further  subdivision,  or 
to  interfere  with  the  settlement  of  fresh  families, 
till  the  evident  impossibility  of  getting  the  sti- 
pulated rents,  and  perhaps  the  turbulence  of  pea- 
sants starving  on  insufficient  patches  of  land,  warn 
the  proprietors  that  the  time  is  'come,  when  their 
own  interests  imperiously  require  that  the  multi- 
plication of  the  tenantry  should  be  moderated.  We 
know,  however,  from  the  instance  of  Ireland,  the 
only  one  on  a  large  scale  open  to  our  observation, 
that  while  rents  are  actually  rising,  a  conviction 
that  their  nominal  increase  is  preparing  a  real  di- 
minution, comes  slowly,  and  is  received  reluctantly ; 
and  that  before  such  a  conviction  begins  to  be 
generally  acted  upon,  the  cultivators  may  be  reduced 
to  a  situation,  in  which  they  are  both  wretched  and 

The  tardiness  with  which  landlords  exert  their  in- 
fluence in  repressing  the  multiplication  of  the  people, 
must  be  ranked  then  among  the  disadvantages  of 
cottier,  when  compared  with  serf  or  metayer  rents. 

Their  second  disadvantage  is  the  want  of  any 
influence  of  custom  and  prescription,  in  keeping  the 
terms  of  the  contract  between  the  proprietors  and 
their  tenantry,  steady  and  fixed. 

Rents.  149 

In  surveying  the  habits  of  a  serf  or  metayer  book  i. 
country,  we  are  usually  able  to  trace  some  ef-  ^^'^' 
fects  of  ancient  usage.  The  number  of  days'  Cottier 
labor  performed  for  the  landlord  by  the  serf  re- 
mains the  same,  from  generation  to  generation,  in 
all  the  provinces  of  considerable  empires.  The  me-^ 
tayer  derived  his  old  name  of  Colonus  Medietarius 
from  taking  half  the  produce ;  and  half  the  pro- 
duce we  see  still  his  usual  portion,  throughout 
large  districts  containing  soils  of  very  different 
qualities.  It  is  true  that  this  influence  of  ancient 
usage  does  not  always  protect  the  tenant  from  want 
or  oppression ;  its  tendency  however  is  decidedly 
in  his  favor.  But  cottier  rents,  contracted  to  be 
paid  in  money,  must  vary  in  nominal  amount  with 
the  variations  in  the  price  of  produce :  after  change 
has  become  habitual,  all  traces  of  a  rent,  consi- 
dered equitable  because  it  is  prescriptive,  are  wholly 
lost,  and  each  bargain  is  determined  by  compe- 

There  can  be  little  doubt  that  the  tendency  to 
constancy  in  the  terms  of  their  contract,  observable 
in  serf  and  metayer  countries,  is  on  the  whole  a 
protection-  to  the  cultivators,  and  that  change  and 
competition,  common  amongst  cottiers,  are  disad- 
vantageous to  them. 

The  third  disadvantage  of  cottier  rents  is  the 
absence  of  such  a  direct  and  obvious  common  in- 
terest between  landlord  and  tenant,  as  might  se- 
cure to  the  cultivator  assistance  when  in  distress. 

There  can  be  no  case  in  which  there  is  not,  in 
reality,  a  community  of  interest   between  the  pro- 

150  RenfB. 

prietors  of  the  soil,  and  those  who  cultivate  it; 
but  their  common  interest  in  the  other  forms  of 
peasant  holding,  is  more  direct  and  obvious,  and 
therefore  more  influential,  upon  the  habits  and  feel- 
ings of  both  tenants  and  landlords.  The  owner  of 
a  serf  relies  upon  the  labor  of  his  tenants  for  pro- 
ducing his  own  subsistence,  and  when  his  tenant 
becomes  a  more  inefficient  instrument  of  cultiva- 
tion, he  sustains  a  loss.  The  owner  of  a  metairie, 
who  takes  a  proportion  of  the  produce,  cannot  but 
see  that  the  energy  and  efficiency  of  his  tenant, 
are  his  own  gain :  languid  and  imperfect  cultiva- 
tion his  loss.  The  serf,  therefore,  relies  upon  his 
lord's  sense  of  interest,  or  feelings  of  kindness  for 
assistance,  if  his  crops  fail,  or  calamity  overtakes 
him  in  any  shape ;  and  he  seldom  is  repulsed  or 
deceived.  This  half  recognized  claim  to  assistance 
seems,  we  know,  occasionally,  so  valuable  to  the 
serfs,  that  they  have  rejected  freedom  from  the  fear 
of  losing  it.  The  metayers  receive  constantly  loans 
of  food  and  other  assistance  from  the  landlord,  when 
from  any  causes  their  own  resources  fail.  The  fear 
of  losing  their  stock,  their  revenue,  and  all  the 
advances  already  made,  prevent  the  most  reluctant 
landlords  from  withholding  aid  on  such  occasions. 
Even  the  Ryot,  miserable  as  he  ordinarily  is,  and 
great  as  is  the  distance  which  separates  him  from 
the  sovereign  proprietor,  is  not  always  without  some 
share  in  these  advantages.  His  exertions  are  felt 
to  be  the  great  source  of  the  revenue  of  the  state, 
and  under  tolerably  well  regulated  governments, 
the  importance  is  felt  and  admitted,  of  aiding  the 

Rents.  151 

cultivators  when  distressed,  by  forbearance,  and  Book  i. 
sometimes  by  advances  \  The  interests  of  the  cot-  ""P'  ^' 
tier  tenant  are  less  obviously  identified  with  those  Cotner 
of  the  proprietor :  changes  of  tenants,  and  varia-  *^°'*' 
tions  of  rent,  are  common  occurrences,  and  the  re- 
moval of  an  unlucky  adventurer,  and  the  accept- 
ance of  a  more  sanguine  bidder,  are  expedients 
more  easy  and  palateable  to  the  proprietors,  than  that 
of  mixing  themselves  up  with  the  risks  and  bur- 
thens of  cultivation,  by  advances  to  their  tenants. 
In  the  highlands  of  Scotland,  indeed,  the  chief 
assisted  his  clan  largely.  They  were  his  kinsmen 
and  defenders :  bound  to  him  by  ties  of  blood,  and 
the  guardians  of  his  personal  safety.  The  habits 
engendered  while  these  feelings  were  fresh,  are  not 
yet  worn  out.  Lord  Stafford  has  sent  to  Suther- 
land very  large  supplies  of  food.  The  chief  of 
the  isle  of  Rumsey  supported  his  people  to  such 
an  extent,  that  he  has  lately  found  it  worth  while  to 
expend  very  considerable  sums  in  enabling  them  to 
emigrate*.  But  the  cottier  merely  as  such,  the 
Irish  cottier,  for  instance,  has  no  such  hold  on 
the  sympathies  of  his  landlord,  and  there  can  be 
no  question  that  of  the  various  classes  of  peasant 
tenantry,  they  stand  the  most  thoroughly  desolate 
and  alone  in  the  time  of  calamity :  that  they 
have  the  least  protection  from  the  ordinary  effects 
of  disastrous  reverses,  or  of  the  failure  of  their 
scanty  resources  from  any  other  causes. 

^  Aurenzebe's  Instructions  to  his  Collectors. 
^  See  Emigration  Report. 

152  Rents. 

Book  I. 
Chap.  V. 

Such  are  tlie  disadvantages  of  this  the  least  ex- 
tensive system  of  peasant  rents.  The  principal  ad- 
Cottier  vantage  the  cottier  derives  from  his  form  of  tenure, 
IS  the  great  facility  with  which,  when  circumstances 
are  favourable  to  him,  he  changes  altogether  his 
condition  in  society.  In  serf,  metayer,  or  ryot 
countries,  extensive  changes  must  take  place  in  the 
whole  framework  of  society,  before  the  peasants 
become  capitalists,  and  independent  farmers.  The 
serf  has  many  stages  to  go  through  before  he  ar- 
rives at  this  point,  and  we  have  seen  how  hard  it 
is  for  him  to  advance  one  step.  The  metayer  too 
must  become  the  owner  of  the  stock  on  his  farm, 
and  be  able  to  undertake  to  pay  a  money  rent. 
Both  changes  take  place  slowly  and  with  difficulty, 
especially  the  last,  the  substitution  of  money  rents, 
which  supposes  a  considerable  previous  improvement 
in  the  internal  commerce  of  the  nation,  and  is 
ordinarily  the  result,  not  the  commencement,  of 
improvement  in  the  condition  of  the  cultivators. 
But  the  cottier  is  already  the  owner  of  his  own 
stock,  he  exists  in  a  society  in  which  the  power  of 
paying  money  rents  is  already  established.  If  he 
thrives  in  his  occupation,  there  is  nothing  io  pre- 
vent his  enlarging  his  holding,  increasing  his  stock, 
and  becoming  a  capitalist,  and  a  farmer  in  the  proper 
sense  of  the  word.  It  is  pleasing  to  hear  the  resident 
Irish  landlords,  who  have  taken  some  pains,  and 
made  some  sacrifices,  to  improve  the  character  and 
condition  of  their  tenantry,  bearing  their  testimony 
to  this  fact,  and  stating  the  rapidity  with  which  some 
of  the  cottiers  have,   under  their  auspices,  acquired 

Rents.  153 

stock,  and  become  small  farmers.     Most  of  the  conn-   ^°(>^  ^• 
tries  occupied  by  metayers,  serfs,  and  ryots,  will  pro-       ^^'^' 
bably  contain  a  similar  race  of  tenantry  for  some  ages.  Cottier 
If  the  events  of  the  next  half  century  are  favour- 
able to  Ireland,  her  cottiers  are  likely  to  disappear, 
and  to  be   merged  in  a  very  different  race  of  cul- 
tivators.     This    facility    for    gliding    out    of  their 
actual    condition   to  a  higher    and  a  better,   is    an 
advantage,  and  a    very  great  advantage,  of  the  cot- 
teir  over   the   other   systems  of  peasant   rents,  and 
atones   for  some  of  its  gloomier  features. 

Making  allowances  for  the  peculiarities  pointed 
out,  the  effects  of  cottier  rents  on  the  wages  of 
labor,  and  other  relations  of  society,  will  be  similar 
to  those  of  other  peasant  rents.  The  quantity  of 
produce  being  determined  by  the  fertility  of  the 
soil,  the  extent  of  the  allotment,  and  the  skill 
and  industry  of  the  cottier;  the  division  of  that 
produce  on  which  his  wages  depend,  is  determined 
by  his  contract  with  the  landlord;  by  the  rent  he 
pays.  And  again,  the  whole  amount  of  produce 
being  determined  as  before,  the  landlord's  share, 
the  rent,  depends  upon  the  maintenance  left  to  the 
peasant,  that  is,  upon  his  wages. 

The  existence  of  rent,  under  a  system  of  cottier 
tenants,  is  in  no  degree  dependent  upon  the  existence 
of  different  qualities  of  soil,  or  of  different  returns 
to  the  stock  and  labor  employed.  Where,  as  has 
been  repeatedly  observed,  no  funds  sufficient  to 
support  the  body  of  the  laborers,  are  in  existence, 
they  must  raise  food  themselves  from  the  earth, 
or  starve ;  and.  this  circumstance  would  make  them 

154  Rents. 

Book  I.   tributary  to  the   landlords,  and   give  rise  to  rents, 

^^'  ^'    and,  as  their  number  increased,  to  very  high  rents, 

Cottier       though  all  the  lands  were  perfectly  equal  in  quality. 

Cottier  rents,  like  other  peasant  rents,  may  in- 
crease from  two  causes ;  first,  from  an  increase  of 
the  whole  produce,  of  which  increase  the  landlord 
takes  the  whole  or  a  part.  Or,  the  produce  re- 
maining stationary,  they  may  increase  from  an 
augmentation  of  the  landlord's  share,  that  of  the 
tenant  being  diminished  to  the  exact  amount  of 
the  additional  rent. 

When  the  rent  increases  and  the  produce  re- 
mains stationary,  the  increase  of  rent  indicates  no 
increase  of  the  riches  and  revenue  of  the  country : 
there  has  been  a  transfer  of  wealth,  but  no  ad- 
dition to  it:  one  party  is  impoverished  to  the  pre- 
cise  amount  to  which  another  is  enriched. 

When,  on  the  other  hand,  increased  rents  are 
paid  by  increased  produce,  there  is  an  addition  to 
the  wealth  of  the  country,  not  a  mere  transfer  of 
that  already  existing :  the  country  is  richer  to  the 
extent,  at  least,  of  the  increased  rent:  and,  pro- 
bably, to  a  greater  extent  from  the  increased  re- 
venue of  the  cultivators. 

It  is  obviously  the  interest  of  the  landlord  of 
cottier,  as  of  other  peasant  tenants,  that  an  increase 
of  his  rents  should  always  originate  in  the  prospe- 
rity of  cultivation,  not  in  pressure  on  the  tenants. 
The  power  of  increase  from  the  last  source  is  very 
limited:  from  improvement,  indefinite. 

It  is  clearly  too  the  interest  of  the  landlord, 
that  the   cottier    tenantry    should    bo    replaced   by 

Rents.  155 

capitalists,   capable   both  of  pushing  cultivation   to   Book  j, 
the  full  extent  to  which  skill   and  means  can  carry    ^*P'  ^' 
it :  instead  of  the  land  being  entrusted  to  the  hands  cotuer 
of  mere  laborers,  struggling  to  exist,  unable  to  im-  ^"^** 
prove,  and  when  much  impoverished  by  competition, 
degraded,  turbulent,  and  dangerous. 

As  it  is  proposed  to  consider  the  present  con- 
dition of  both  the  Irish  and  English  poor  at  the 
end  of  the  work,  when  we  shall  have  the  assist- 
ance of  all  the  more  general  principles  we  shall 
venture  to  unfold,  the  subject  of  cottier  rents  need 
not  be  farther  pursued  here.  They  have  already 
been  sufficiently  examined,  to  shew  the  points  in 
which  they  will  agree  vsdth  or  differ  from  other 
peasant  rents. 

of  Peasant 




Injluence  of  Rent  on   Wages. 

Book  I.  One  important  fact  must  strike  us  forcibly  on 

chap^.    |QQ|.-jjg  ^^^^   Q^   ^]^g    collective  body  of  those  pri- 

Summary  mary  or  peasant  rents,  which  we  have  been  tracing, 
in  their  various  forms,  over  the  surface  of  the 
globe.  It  is  their  constant  and  very  intimate  con- 
nection with  the  wages  of  labor. 

In  this  respect  the  serf,  the  metayer,  the  ryot, 
the  cottier,  are  alike :  the  terms  on  which  they  can 
obtain  the  spot  of  ground  they  cultivate,  exercise 
an  active  and  predominant  influence,  in  determining 
the  reward  they  shall  receive  for  their  personal  ex- 
ertions ;  or,  in  other  words,  their  real  wages.  We 
should  take  a  very  false  view  of  the  causes  which 
regulate  the  amount  of  their  earnings,  if  we  merely 
calculated  the  quantity  of  capital  in  existence  at 
any  given  time,  and  then  attempted  to  compute 
their  share  of  it  by  a  survey  of  their  numbers.  As 
they  produce  their  own  wages,  all  the  circumstances 
which  affect  either  their  powers  of  production,  or 
their  share  of  the  produce,  must  be  taken  into  the 
estimate.  And  among  these,  principally,  those  cir- 
cumstances, which  we  have  seen  distinguish  one 
set  of  peasant  tenantry  from  another.  The  mode 
in  which  their  rent  is  paid,  whether  in  labor,  pro- 
duce,   or   money :    the    effects  of    time    and   usage 

Rents.  157 

in   softening,    or    exaggerating,    or    modifying,    the   Book  i. 
original   form     or    results    of    their    contract :     all    _^^'* 
these  things,   and  their   combined  effects,   must   be  summary 
carefully  examined,  and  well  considered,   before  we  Rems*^" 
can   expect  to  understand  what  it  is  which    limits 
the   wages   of  the  peasant,   and  fixes   the  standard 
of  his  condition  and  enjoyments. 

While,  then,  the  position  of  a  large  proportion 
of  the  population  of  the  earth  continues  to  be 
what  it  has  ever  yet  been,  such  as  to  oblige  them 
to  extract  their  own  food  with  their  own  hands 
from  its  bosom ;  the  form  and  condition  of  peasant 
tenures,  and  the  nature  and  amount  of  the  rents 
paid  under  them,  will  necessarily  exercise  a  leading 
influence  on  the  condition  of  the  laboring  classes, 
and  on  the  real  wages  of  their  labor. 

Influence  of  Peasant  Rents    on  Agricultural 


The  next  remarkable  effect,  common  to  all  the 
forms  of  peasant  rents,  is  their  influence  in  pre- 
venting the  full  developeraent  of  the  productive 
powers  of  the  earth. 

If  we  observe  the  difference  which  exists  in  the 
productiveness  of  the  industry  of  different  bodies 
of  men,  in  any  of  the  various  departments  of  hu- 
man exertion,  we  shall  find  that  difference  to  de- 
pend, almost  wholly,  on  two  circumstances :  first, 
on  the  quantity  of  contrivance  used  in  applying 
manual  labor :  secondly,  on  the  extent  to  which 
the  mere  physical  exertions  of  men's  hands  are 
assisted  by  the  accumulated  results   of  past  labor: 

158  Rents. 

Book  I.   {^i  other  worda,  on  the  different  quantities  of  skill, 

^'       knowledge,    and    capital,    brought    to    the    task  of 

Summary    production.     A  difference  in  these,  occasions  all  the 

of  X  Cfts&nt 

K«nts.  difference  between  the  productive  powers  of  a  body 
of  savages,  and  those  of  an  equal  body  of  English 
agriculturists  or  manufacturers :  and  it  occasions  also 
the  less  striking  differences,  which  exist  between  the 
productive  powers  of  the  various  bodies  of  men,  who 
occupy  gradations  between  these  two  extremes. 

When  the  earth  is  cultivated  under  a  system 
of  peasant  rents,  the  task  of  directing  agriculture, 
and  of  providing  what  is  necessary  to  assist  its 
operations,  is  either  thrown  wholly  upon  the  pea- 
sants, as  in  the  case  of  ryot  and  cottier  rents,  or 
divided  between  them  and  their  landlords,  as  in 
the  case  of  serf  and  metayer  rents.  In  neither  of 
these  cases  is  the  efficiency  of  agricultural  industry 
likely  to  be  carried  as  far  as  it  might  be.  Poverty, 
and  the  constant  fatigues  of  laborious  exertion,  put 
both  science,  and  the  means  of  assisting  his  industry 
by  the  accumulation  of  capital,  out  of  the  reach 
of  the  peasant.  And  when  the  landlords  have  once 
succeeded  in  getting  rid  in  part  of  the  burthen 
of  cultivation,  and  have  formed  a  body  of  peasant 
tenantry,  it  is  in  vain  to  hope  for  much  steady 
superintendance  or  assistance  from  them.  The 
fixed  and  secure  nature  of  their  property,  and  the 
influence  which  it  gives  them  in  the  early  stages 
of  society  over  the  cultivating  class,  that  is,  over 
the  great  majority  of  the  nation,  lead  to  the  for- 
mation of  feelings  and  habits,  inconsistent  with  a 
detailed  attention   to    the   conduct   of   cultivation; 

Rents.  159 

while  they  very  rarely  possess  the  power  and  the  Boo«i- 

temper  steadily  to  accumulate  the  means  of  assist-    1_ 

ins:  the  industry  employed  on  their  estates.  Some  summary 
skill,  and  some  capital,  must  be  found  among  the  Rents. 
very  rudest  cultivators :  but  the  most  efficient  di- 
rection of  labor,  and  the  accumulation  and  con- 
trivance of  the  means  to  endow  it  with  the  greatest 
attainable  power,  seem  to  be  the  peculiar  province, 
the  appointed  task,  of  a  race  of  men,  capitalists, 
distinct  from  both  laborers  and  landlords,  more  capa- 
ble of  intellectual  efforts  than  the  lower,  more  will- 
ing to  bring  such  efforts  to  bear  on  the  improvement 
of  the  powers  of  industry,  than  the  higher,  of  those 
classes.  On  the  peculiar  functions  of  this  third 
class  of  men  in  society,  and  of  the  various  effects 
moral,  economical,  and  political,  produced  by  the 
multiplication  of  their  numbers  and  their  means, 
we  shall  hereafter  have  to  treat.  Their  absence 
from  the  task  of  cultivation,  which  is  common  to 
all  the  wide  classes  of  peasant  tenures,  prevents  that 
perfect  developement  of  the  resources  of  the  earth, 
which  their  skill,  their  contrivance,  and  the  power 
tney  exercise  by  the  employment  of  accumulated 
resources,  do  and  can  alone  effect. 

Small  Numbers  of  the  Non-agricultural  Classes. 

Resulting  from  this  imperfect  developement  of 
the  powers  of  the  earth,  will  be  found  a  stunted 
growth  of  the  classes  of  society  unconnected  with 
the  soil.  It  is  obvious,  that  the  relative  numbers 
of  those   persons   who   can   be   maintained   without 

160  Rents. 

Book  I.  agricultural  labor,  must  be  measured  wholly  by  the 
^^^^'  ^^'  productive  powers  of  the  cultivators.  Where  these 
Summary  cultivate  skilfully,  they  obtain  produce  to  maintain 
Rents.  themselves  and  many  others;  where  they  cultivate 
less  skilfully,  they  obtain  produce  sufficient  to  main- 
tain themselves  and  a  smaller  number  of  others. 
The  relative  numbers  of  the  non-agricultural  classes 
will  never  be  so  great,  therefore,  where  the  resources 
of  the  earth  are  developed  with  deficient  or  moderate 
skill  and  power,  as  they  are  when  these  resources 
are  developed  more  perfectly.  In  France  and  Italy, 
the  agriculture  of  the  peasant  tenantry  is  good  when 
compared  with  that  of  similar  classes  elsewhere,  and 
the  soil  and  climate  are,  on  the  whole,  excellent; 
yet  the  number  of  non-agriculturists  is  in  France 
only  as  1  to  2,  in  Italy  as  4  to  13,  while  in  England, 
with  an  inferior  soil  and  climate  (agricultural  cli- 
mate, that  is,)  the  non-agriculturists  are  to  the  cul- 
tivators as  2  to  1\  The  relative  numbers  and  in- 
fluence of  the  non -agricultural  classes  powerfully 
affect,  as  we  have  had  occasion  before  to  remark, 
the  social  and  political  circumstances  of  different 
countries,  and,  indeed,  mainly  decide  what  materials 
each  country  shall  possess,  for  the  formation  of  those 
mixed  constitutions  in  which  the  power  of  the  crown, 
and  of  a  landed  aristocracy,  are  balanced  and  con- 
trolled by  the  influence  of  numbers,  and  of  pro- 
perty freed  from  all  dependance  on  the  soil. 

^  In  England  too,  a  larger  number  of  animals  are  kept  for 
pleasure,  and  a  variety  of  purposes  unconnected  with  culti- 
vation: the  power  of  feeding  these  must  be  reckoned,  when 
we  are  calculating  the  efficiency  of  her  agriculture. 

Rents.  161 

I   shall  not  be  understood  of  course,  as  mean-   ^°°^  ^• 

^hap.  vi. 

mg  to  assert,  that  the  presence  of  a  large  propor-    

tion  of  non-agriculturists  is  essential  to  the  existence  o^p™^^ 
of  democratic  institutions :  we  have  abundance  of  Rents 
instances  to  the  contrary.  But  when  a  powerful 
aristocracy  already  exists  on  the  soil,  as  where 
peasant  rents  prevail,  it  needs  must ;  then  the 
efficient  introduction  of  democratic  elements  into 
the  constitution,  depends  almost  entirely  upon  the 
numbers  and  property  of  the  non -agricultural  classes. 
The  indirect  influence  of  peasant  tenures  therefore, 
in  limiting  the  numbers  of  the  non-agricultural 
classes,  must  be  reckoned  among  the  most  im- 
portant of  the  political  results  of  those  tenures. 

Identity  of  the  Interests  of  Landlords  with   those 
of  their  Tenantry  and  the  Community. 

A  little  attention  is  sufficient  to  shew,  that 
under  all  the  forms  of  peasant  tenures,  the  inter- 
ests of  the  landlords  are  indissolubly  connected 
with  those  of  their  tenantry  and  of  the  community 
at  large.  The  interest  of  the  state  obviously  is, 
that  the  resources  of  its  territory  should  be  fully 
developed  by  a  class  of  cultivators  free,  rich,  and 
prosperous,  and  therefore  equal  to  the  task.  The 
interest  of  the  tenant  must  ever  be  to  increase 
the  produce  of  the  land,  on  which  produce  he  feeds, 
to  shake  off  the  shackles  of  servile  dependence :  and 
to  attain  that  form  of  holding  which  leaves  him 
most  completely  his  own  master,  and  presents  the 
fewest  obstructions  to  his  accumulation  of  property. 


162  Rentii. 

Book  1.  The   interests   of  the  landed   proprietor   concur 

^'  ^''   with  these  interests  of  the  state  and  the  tenantry. 
Summary  There  is  indeed  a  method  by  which  his  revenue 

RenttL**"  may  be  increased,  neither  beneficial  to  the  commu- 
nity, nor  advantageous  to  the  tenant ;  that  is,  by 
encroaching  on  the  tenant's  share  of  the  produce, 
while  the  produce  itself  remains  unaltered.  But 
this  is  a  limited  and  miserable  resource,  which  con- 
tains within  itself  the  principles  of  a  speedy  stoppage 
and  failure.  That  full  developement  of  the  pro- 
ductive powers  of  a  territory,  which  is  essential  to 
the  progressive  rise  of  the  proprietor's  income,  can 
never  be  forwarded  by  the  increasing  penury  of  the 
cultivators.  While  the  peasant  is  the  agent  or  prin- 
cipal instrument  of  production,  the  agriculture  of 
a  country  can  never  thrive  with  his  deepening  de- 
pression. If  the  waste  plains  of  Asia,  and  the  forests 
of  Eastern  Europe,  are  ever  to  produce  to  their  pro- 
prietors a  revenue  at  all  like  what  similar  quantities 
of  land  yield  in  the  better  cultivated  parts  of  the 
world;  it  is  not  by  increasing  the  penury  of  the 
race  of  peasantry  by  which  are  now  loosely  occu- 
pied, that  such  a  result  will  be  brought  about.  Their 
increased  misery  can  only  stay  the  spread  of  culti- 
vation and  diminish  its  powers.  The  miserable  scan- 
tiness of  the  produce  of  a  great  part  of  the  earth, 
is  visibly  mainly  owing  to  the  actual  poverty  and 
degradation  of  the  peasant  cultivators.  But  the 
real  interest  of  the  proprietors  never  can  be  to 
snatch  a  small  gain  from  a  dwindling  fund,  which 
at  every  invasion  of  theirs  is  less  likely  to  be  aug- 
mented, when  they  might  ensnrc  a  progressive  in- 

Renti.  163 

crease  from  the  indefinite  augmentation  of  the  fund  Book  l 
itself.  It  is  obviously  therefore  most  advantageous  ^'^' 
to  the  proprietors,  that  their  revenues  should  increase  summary 
from  the  increasing  produce  of  the  land,  and  not  Rentt!™* 
from  the  decreasing  means  of  its  cultivators;  and 
so  far  their  interest  is  clearly  the  same  with  that 
of  the  state  and  the  peasantry. 

And  further,  it  is  no  less  the  interest  of  the 
landlords,  than  it  is  that  of  other  classes  in  the 
state,  that  the  ruder  and  more  oppressive  forms  of 
his  contract  with  his  tenant  should  gradually  be 
exchanged  for  others,  more  consistent  with  the 
social  and  political  welfare  of  the  cultivators.  The 
landlord  who  receives  labor  rents  must  be  a  farmer 
himself:  the  landlord  of  the  metayer  must  support 
most  of  the  burthens  of  cultivation,  and  share  in 
all  its  hazards ;  the  landlord  of  the  cottier  must 
be  exposed  to  frequent  losses  from  the  failure  of 
the  means  of  his  tenantry,  and  after  a  certain  point 
in  their  depression,  to  considerable  danger  from  their 
desperation.  All  the  advantages  incident  to  the 
position  of  a  landed  proprietor,  are  only  reaped  in 
their  best  shape,  when  his  income  is  fixed,  and  (ex- 
traordinary casualties  excepted)  certain ;  when  he  is 
free  from  any  share  in  the  burthens  and  hazards 
of  cultivation ;  when  with  the  progress  of  national 
improvement  his  property  has  its  utmost  powers  of 
production  brought  into  full  play,  by  a  race  of  te- 
nants possessed  of  intellect  and  means  equal  to  the 
task.  The  receiver  of  labor  rents  therefore,  gains 
a  point  when  they  are  changed  to  produce  rents; 
the  receiver  of  produce  rents  from  a  metayer  gains 


164  Rc.ntM. 

Book  I-    a   point   wlieii   they   are   changed   to  money   rents. 

*^'  ^''  The  landlord  of  cottiers  gains  a  point  when  they 

Summary    becomc  Capitalists ;   and  the  sovereign   of  the  ryot 

Rcntt!**"'  cultivators  gains  a  point  when  the  produce  due  from 

them  can  be  commuted  for  fixed  payments  in  money. 

There  is  no  one  step   in  the  prosperous  career  of 

a  peasant  tenantry,  of  any  description,  at  which  the 

interests  of  the  landlords  are  not  best  promoted  by 

their  prosperity :   and  that  in  spite  of  the  admitted 

possibility  of  a  stinted  gain  to  the  proprietors,  founded 

on  the  increasing  penury  of  the  cultivators. 

On  the  Causes  of  the  long  Dtirution  of  the  Systems 
of  Primary  or  Peasant  Rents. 

Perhaps  in  an  enquiry  into  the  nature  and  effects 
of  the  different  systems  of  peasant  rents,  the  most 
interesting  tract  in  the  whole  line  of  investigation, 
is  that  in  which  we  seek  to  discover  the  causes  which 
have  kept  them  permanent  and  unchanged,  over  a 
large  part  of  the  earth,  through  a  long  succession 
of  ages. 

The  interests  of  the  state,  of  the  proprietors,  of 
the  tenantry  themselves,  are  all  advanced  by  the  pro- 
gressive changes  which  in  prosperous  communities  suc- 
cessively take  place  in  the  mode  of  cultivating  the 
soil.  And  yet  in  spite  of  the  ordinary  tendency  of 
human  institutions  to  change,  and  of  the  numerous 
interests  which  in  this  instance  combine  to  make 
change  desirable,  ages  have  travelled  past,  and  a 
great  portion  of  the  earth's  surface  is  still  tilled  by 
races  of  peasantry,  holding  tlic  land  by  tenures   and 

Rents.  165 

on   conditions   similar   to   those   imposed   upon   the   Book  i. 
persons    in   whose    hands    the   task   of    cultivation       ^^'  ^''' 
was   first  placed.     Such    are  the  serfs  of  the  east,  Summary 
the  metayers   who  cover  the  west  of   Europe,   and  Rentar*"^ 
the  ryots  who  occupy  the  whole  of  Asia. 

When  we  look  at  those  countries  in  which  pea- 
sant rents  have  at  any  time  prevailed,  and  observe 
their  actual  condition  with  reference  to  past,  or 
probable  changes,  those  rents  shew  themselves  in 
four  unequal  masses.  PVom  the^r*^  division,  they 
have  already  passed ;  spontaneous  changes,  gradually 
brought  about,  in  slow  succession,  have  obliterated 
all  marks  of  the  earlier  and  ruder  forms  of  hold- 
ing. A  race  of  capitalists  providing  the  stock, 
advancing  the  wages  of  labor,  and  paying  fixed 
money  rents,  have  taken  entire  possession  of  the 
task  of  cultivation,  from  which  the  proprietors  are 
completely  extricated.  The  portion  of  the  earth's  sur- 
face on  which  this  has  taken  place  is  small.  It  com- 
prises England,  the  greater  part  of  Scotland,  a  part 
of  the  kingdom  of  the  Netherlands,  and  spots  in 
France,  Italy,  Spain,  and  Germany.  In  another 
part  of  the  globe,  we  see  the  causes  which  have 
elsewhere  produced  the  changes  just  referred  to,  still 
actually  at  work,  but  their  results  yet  incomplete. 
Without  any  deliberate  purpose  on  the  part  of  any 
class,  changes  are  quietly  and  silently  taking  place, 
through  which  the  agricultural  population  are  ad- 
vancing to  a  position  similar  to  that  of  the  English 
farmers  and  laborers.  This  process  may  be  observed 
in  the  west  of  Germany :  there  the  serfs  have  for 
some  ages  been  going  through  a   sluggish   process 

166  Rents. 

Book  I.   of  transmutatioTi  into  leibeigeners^  hereditary  tenants   y^iiY^  fixed  labor  rents,  and  not  chained  to  the  soil. 

Sammary    The  Icibeigencrs  are  slowly  assuming  the  character 

of  Peasant  ^f  meyers,  subject   to  an  unaltierable  produce  rent ; 

a  very  few  steps  in  advance  will  range  the  meyer 

by  the  side  of  the  English  copyholder;  and   then 

all  the  substantial  effects  of  their  former  condition, 

as  tenants  paying  labor  rents,  will  have  disappeared. 

There  is  this  material  difference,  however,  be^ 
tween  the  past  state  of  England,  and  the  present 
state  of  Germany.     In  England,  the  tenants   who 
on  the  disuse  of  the  labor  of  the  serf  tenantry,  took 
charge  of  the  cultivation  of  the  domains  of  the  pro- 
prietors, were  found  on  the  land ;  they  were  yeomen. 
In  Germany,  the  tenants  of  the  domains  are  offsets 
from  the  non-agricultural  population,  and  their  capi- 
tal has  been  accumulated  in  employments  distinct 
from    agriculture.     In    England,    the    source    from 
which  the  new  tenantry  proceeded,  was  large,  and 
their   spread   rapid.      In    Germany,    the    source    is 
smaller,  and  the  creation  of  such  a  tenantry  must 
be   the  work  of  a  much   longer   period.     But   the 
change  has  been  slow  in  both  countries.     Cultivation 
by  the  labor  of  the  manerial  tenants  was  very  long 
before  it  finally  disappeared  from  England :  the  legal 
obligation  to  perform    such  labor  has  glided  out  of 
sight  almost  within  memory.     So  too  in  those  parts 
of  Germany  in  which  the  progress  of  the  relations 
between    the   proprietors   and   the   tenantry   is   left 
to   take  its    own   course,  it   seems  highly   probable 
that  a  very  long  period  will  yet  elapse  before  labor 
rents   wholly   disappear.      Spontaneous   changes    in 

Rents.  167 

the  habits  of  nations  usually  take  place  slowly,  and   ^°°^  ^• 

,     .  Chap,  vi, 

occupy  ages  in  their  progress.  

Gradual  alterations  in  the  mode  of  holding  and  Summary 

,    .         .  ,        ,  •     1     1  of  Peasant 

cultivating  land,  occupied  by  a  peasant  tenantry,  Rents, 
are  not  confined  to  the  countries  in  which  labor 
rents  prevail :  metayers  have,  in  some  districts, 
given  place  to  capitalist  tenants,  and  in  others  are 
to  be  found  in  a  state  of  transition;  owning  part 
of  the  capital,  paying  sometimes  a  fixed  quantity 
of  produce,  sometimes  a  money  rent,  and  preparing, 
evidently,  to  take  upon  themselves  all  the  burthens 
and  hazards  of  cultivation. 

The  two  divisions  of  rents  which  we  have  just  no- 
ticed, comprise,  jointly,  but  a  small  portion  of  the 
earth.  In  them,  as  we  have  seen,  a  movement  in 
advance  of  the  cultivators  themselves  has  taken  place, 
which  has  proceeded  from  the  insensible  improvement 
of  their  condition,  and  has  ended  in  one,  and  is  likely 
to  end  in  the  other,  in  an  alteration  in  the  form  of 
rents.  But  in  that  greater  portion  of  the  earth 
which  remains  to  be  noticed,  there  has  been  no 
spontaneous  movement  in  advance,  and  there  is  no 
tendency  to  insensible  change  to  be  perceived. 
Yet  in  a  small  division  of  that  larger  portion  very 
rapid  alterations  are  in  progress,  in  a  different  man- 
ner, and  from  a  different  cause.  And  this  constitutes 
a  third  division  of  peasant  rents,  when  classed 
with  reference  to  their  tendencies  to  change. 

In  the  Eastern  part  of  Europe,  the  people 
have  never  reached  the  means,  or  even  the  wish,  of 
elevating  their  condition:  the  mode  of  cultivation 
and  the  relations  between  the  proprietors  and  their 

of  Peasant 

168  Rents. 

Book  I.  tenantry,  might,  apparently,  as  far  as  the  exertions 
^^*P'  ^''  of  the  cultivators  themselves  are  concerned,  have 
Summary    continucd  Unchanged  while  the  earth  lasts. 

But,  in  these  countries,  the  intellect  and  know- 
ledge of  the  higher  classes  are  far  in  advance  of 
the  apathy,  and  stationary  ignorance,  of  the  lower. 
The  landed  proprietors  have  been  able  to  contrast 
the  condition  of  their  country  and  their  property, 
with  the  state  of  more  improved  nations,  and  have 
become  animated  by  a  zealous  desire  of  altering  the 
condition  of  the  peasantry,  and  the  mode  of  conducting 
agriculture.  This  common  spirit  has  produced,  and 
is  daily  producing,  a  variety  of  changes;  differing 
in  detail  with  the  actual  circumstances  of  different 
districts,  but  having  two  common  objects ;  namely, 
the  elevation  of  the  character  and  circumstances  of  the 
present  peasant  cultivators,  and  the  improvement  of 
agriculture  on  the  domains  held  by  the  proprietors. 

We  have  already  seen,  that  the  ultimate  re- 
sults of  these  various  changes  are  yet  problema- 
tical; that  whatever  they  may  be,  a  long  period 
of  time  will  probably  elapse,  before  they  are  fully 

Abstracting,  however,  altogether  from  the  three 
districts  we  have  been  considering,  namely,  that  in 
which  peasant  rents  have  been  actually  superseded, 
that  from  which  they  are  slowly  disappearing,  and 
that  from  which  an  attempt  is  making  forcibly  to 
expel  them ;  there  still  remains  a  large  fourth  dis- 
trict: a  vast  unbroken  mass,  which  no  movement 
from  within,  and  no  influence  from  without,  have 
yet   brought   to  give   signs  of  approaching  change. 

Rettts.  169 

As   the  attention   is  naturally  more  caught  by    ®°*"^  '• 

what   is  stirring  and  in  motion,  than  by  things  of    |_' 

greater  magnitude  and  importance  which  are   inert  Summary 

^  ^  ..,.,,  .  .of  Peasant 

and  stationary,  the  countries  in  which  alterations  in  Rents, 
the  mode  of  conducting  agriculture  are  in  progress, 
attract  observation  much  more  readily  than  those 
which  really  present  a  more  curious  and  interesting 
phenomenon ;  those  in  which  the  forms  of  occu- 
pying the  soil  first  adopted,  and  the  systems  and 
relations  of  society  founded  on  them,  still  prevail; 
in  which  the  face  of  society  has  undergone  for  cen- 
turies as  little  alteration  as  the  face  of  nature,  and 
men  seem  as  unchangeable  as  the  regions  they 
inhabit.  The  Ryots  throughout  Asia,  and  the 
peasants  in  a  very  considerable  portion  of  Europe, 
are  precisely  what  they  have  ever  been.  In  spite 
of  the  fluctuations  natural  to  all  human  institu- 
tions, and  of  the  obvious  disadvantages  of  their 
systems  of  cultivation,  still  they  endure,  and  are 
likely  to  endure,  unless  some  general  movement 
takes  place  on  the  part  of  the  higher  classes, 
dragging  the  lower  from  their  apathy  and  poverty ; 
or  some  insensible  improvement  of  their  condition, 
enables  the  lower  classes  themselves  to  begin  a 
forward  progress. 

Efforts  of  the  higher  classes,  to  introduce  for- 
cibly improvements  into  the  condition  of  the  lower, 
are  little  likely  ever  to  become  general  and  system- 
atic, over  any  great  proportion  of  the  earth's  surface. 
To  suppose  a  general  diffusion  of  political  know- 
ledge and  philosophy,  dispelling  everywhere  the  slug- 
gish dreams  of  selfishness,  may  be  a  pleasing  reverie. 

170  Bents. 

^^\\    but  can  hardly  afford  any  ground   for  rational  an- 
ticipation.     The  proprietors  of  the  serfs  of  Eastern 

o?p^^t  ^"^^P®  ^^^^  made,  it  is  true,  vigorous  efforts,  but 
tt«nt8.  they  were  stimulated  by  the  intolerable  burthens 
and  embarrassments  which  the  old  system  brought 
upon  themselves,  and  nothing  short  of  such  a  sti- 
mulus would  make  such  efforts  general.  The 
Italian  or  Spanish  nobles  shew  no  symptoms  of 
being  roused  to  take  the  lead  in  altering  the  terms 
on  which  their  estates  are  used:  even  the  French 
noblesse,  before  the  revolution,  were  quite  passive 
under  the  evils  and  losses  which  the  condition  of 
their  metayer  tenantry  made  common.  The  native 
princes  of  Asia  are  little  likely  to  be  reformers 
in  the  agricultural  economy  of  their  country.  We 
see  how  little  the  Anglo-Indian  government  has 
effected  in  this  respect. 

But  if  the  higher  classes  are  little  likely  to 
display  general  activity  as  reformers,  then,  as  the 
foundation  of  future  improvements  in  the  circum- 
stances of  the  cultivators  of  a  large  part  of  the 
world,  there  remain  only  such  alterations  for  the 
better,  as  may  insensibly  take  place  in  the  condi- 
tion of  the  lower  classes :  such  benefits  as  they  may 
win  for  themselves  amidst  the  silent  lapse  of  time 
and  every  day  events. 

If  this  is  seen,  it  must  be  perceived  at  once,  that 
the  actual  state  of  penury  and  misery,  which  makes  the 
cultivators  helpless,  and  keeps  them  destitute,  is  the 
great  obstacle  to  the  commencement  of  national  im- 
provement ;  the  heavy  weight  which  keeps  stationary 
the   wealth   and  number  and  civilization  of  a  very 

Rents.  171 

large  part  of  the  eartli.     I  believe  this,  indeed,  to    bookI. 
be  only  one  case  of  a   general  truth,    with    which,   chap.  vi. 
in    our   future   progress,   we  shall  become  more   fa-  summary 
miliar,  that   the   degradation    and  abject  poverty  of^e^^J^^* 
the   lower   classes,    can    never   be   found   in   combi- 
nation with   national  wealth,  and  political  strength. 
But  when   the  lower  classes  exist  in  the  character 
of  peasant  cultivators,  this  is  more  strikingly  true 
than  elsewhere.      In  poor   countries,   of  which  the 
non-agricultural  population  bears  a  very   small  pro- 
portion to  the  husbandmen,  it  is  usually  in  vain  to 
expect,   that   the  additional  capital  and  skill  neces- 
sary to  effect  great  national  improvements  in   cul- 
tivation,   can  be   generated    any  where  but  on    the 
land  itself,  and  among  its  actual  occupiers.     If  once, 
therefore,  the  peasantry  are  so  far  reduced  in  their 
circumstances  and  character,  as  to  have  neither  the 
means,   nor,    after   a   time,    the    wish   or    hope,    to 
acquire   property  and  improve  their  condition  ;    the 
state   of  agricultural   production,   and    the    relative 
numbers  of  the   non-agricultural   and  other  classes 
must  be  nearly  stationary ;  and,  under  such  circum- 
stances, all  plans  for  the  advancement  of  agriculture, 
and  improvement  of  the  condition  of  the  peasants, 
which   are   not   founded  on   the  principle   that  the 
means  of  the  cultivator  are  to  be,  in  the  first  placCy 
enlarged,  prove,  almost  necessarily,  abortive.     Laws 
which  confer  upon  him  political  rights  and  security, 
are  in  themselves  a  mere  dead  letter,  while  poverty 
weighs  him  down,  and  keeps  him  fast  in   his  posi- 
tion.    The  French  metayers  had  long  ceased  to  be 
subject  to  the  arbitrary  power   of  the   proprietors: 

172  Rents. 

Boojc  I.   tJjeij-   persons   and  properties  were,   with   some   ex- 

ceptions,  as  secure  as  those  of  any  class  in  France ; 

Summary    yet  their  condition,   and  the  character  of  their  cul- 

of  Peasant     •^.         .  . 

Rents.  tivation  were,  at  best,  stationary,  and,  in  some  dis- 
tricts, certainly  declining.  It  ivas  the  one  great 
object  of  the  French  economists,  to  substitute  for 
this  class  of  cultivators,  capitalists  paying  money 
rents,  and  the  fault  of  their  plans,  for  accomplish- 
ing their  purpose,  was  this,  that  instead  of  re- 
commending measures  for  the  general  transformation 
of  the  metayers  themselves  into  capitalists,  they 
founded  all  their  hopes  of  effecting  the  change  they 
thought  so  all  important,  on  the  removal  of  the 
metayers,  and  the  gradual  spread  of  capitalists,  from 
the  districts  in  which  they  had  already  established 
themselves.  This  was  a  process,  which  could  only 
have  gone  on  at  all  under  a  very  favourable  state 
of  the  markets  for  agricultural  produce,  and  which, 
it  will  be  clear,  must  have  taken  ages  to  complete, 
if  we  consider  the  small  part  of  France  occupied 
by  capitalists,  and  the  very  large  proportion  of  her 
surface  tilled  by  metayers.  The  transformation  of 
the  metayers  themselves  was  less  difficult,  but  it 
was  opposed  by  the  moral  obstacle  we  are  speaking 
of,  which  forms  the  real  impediment  to  the  progress 
of  improvement,  under  all  the  forms  of  peasant  rent. 
It  required  a  distinct  sacrifice  of  immediate  income, 
on  the  part  of  the  proprietors  or  the  government. 
The  metayers  were  oppressed  by  taxes,  more  than 
by  rent :  the  share  of  the  landlord  in  the  produce 
had  never  been  increased ;  but  the  exactions  of  go- 
vernment from  the  tenant's  portion,  had  reduced  him 

Rentit.  1 73 

to  the  state  of  misery  which  Tiirgot  describes.  To  Book  r. 
enable  the  cultivators  then  to  amend  their  circum-  '^'^' 
stances,  to  accumulate,  and  ultimately  to  change  their  summary 
form  of  holding,  it  was  necessary  to  begin  by  lighten-  ^nt&.  ^ 
ing  the  actual  pressure  on  them :  to  effect  this,  either 
the  government  must  have  remitted  part  of  its 
taxes,  or  the  proprietors  have  consented  to  pay 
part  of  them,  and  to  relinquish  thus  a  part  of 
their  own  revenue.  On  the  side  of  the  state,  pub- 
lic necessity,  partly  real,  and  partly  assumed  by 
ministers  who  did  not  foresee  to  what  point  they 
were  driving  the  population ;  on  the  part  of  the 
proprietors,  what  Turgot  is  pleased  to  call  the  illu- 
sions of  self  interest  ill  understood,  prevented  such 
a  remission  of  the  burthens  of  the  peasantry  as 
might  have  enabled  them  to  make  a  start  in  ad- 
vance: they  continued  therefore  poor,  inefficient,  sta- 
tionary ;  and  the  agricultural  resources  of  the  state 
were  stunted  and  stopt  in  their  growth  with  the  pea- 
santry. In  spite  of  the  miseries  of  that  revolution, 
through  which  the  freedom  of  the  cultivators  from 
their  ancient  oppressions  has  been  earnt,  the  re- 
venues of  the  body  of  agriculturists  have  so  in- 
creased, that  France  consumes  more  than  three 
times  the  quantity  of  manufactured  commodities  she 
did  before  the  revolution,  and  her  non  agricultural 
population  has  doubled.  These  facts  tell  at  once 
how  much  she  lost  in  strength  and  wealth,  by  the 
feebleness  of  the  agricultural  efforts  of  the  peasantry 
under  the  old  regime.  But  convulsions  like  that 
which  in  France  destroyed  the  relations  between 
landlord  and  tenant,  and  converted  a  large  portion 

174  Rents-. 

Book  I.    ^f  ^|^g   mctayers   into  small  proprietors,   are  not  to 

'__'  be   counted  on   in   the   ordinary    course   of   human 

Summary  affairs ;  and  when  once  either  the  exactions  of 
Rents.  landlords,  or  of  the  state,  or  indeed  any  other 
circumstances,  have  reduced  a  peasant  tenantry  to 
penury,  the  same  difficulty  constantly  opposes  itself 
to  the  commencement  of  improvement.  No  one  is 
willing  to  make,  no  one  ordinarily  thinks  of  making, 
a  direct  sacrifice  of  revenue,  for  the  purpose  of  aug- 
menting their  actual  means ;  and  nothing  short  of 
that  will  enable  them  to  start.  In  India,  the  An- 
glo-Indian government  have  been  creditably  ready 
to  give  more  security  and  more  civil  rights  to  their 
Indian  subjects  than  they  before  enjoyed;  but 
when  it  became  a  question  of  direct  sacrifice  of  re- 
venue, notwithstanding  the  clearest  conviction  in 
their  own  minds,  that  the  population  would  be  in- 
creased, cultivation  improved,  and  the  wealth  and 
resources  of  their  territories  rapidly  multiplied,  still 
the  exigencies  of  the  government  would  not  permit 
them  to  remit  the  actual  rents  to  the  amount  of 
25  per  cent.,  or  15  per  cent.,  even  to  ensure  all  these 
confessed  ulterior  advantages;  and  therefore  they  con- 
cluded that  the  state  of  cultivation,  and  the  poverty 
of  the  tenantry  must  continue  as  they  were\ 

From  the  same  causes,  the  posterity  of  the 
emancipated  serfs  of  eastern  Europe  are  shut  out  from 
the  possibility  of  forming  a  body  of  capitalist  tenants, 
fitted  to  take  charge  of  the  cultivation  of  the  domains 
of  the  proprietors.    Personal  freedom,  hereditary  pos- 

'  See  Buchanan's  edition  of  Smith,  Appendix,  p.  ^. 


Uents.  175 

session  of  their  allotments,  rights  and  privileges  in   ^^°^  \ 

abundance,  the  landlords  and  sovereigns  are  willing    

to  grant ;  and  it  would  be  extravagant  to  say  these  o"  p^^^ 
grants  are  worth  nothing :  but  that  which  is  ne-  ^°^^- 
cessary  to  enable  the  peasants  to  profit  by  their 
new  position,  that  is,  an  immediate  relaxation  of 
the  pressure  upon  them,  an  increase  of  their  reve- 
nue, proceeding  from  a  direct  sacrifice  of  income 
on  the  part  of  either  the  crown  or  the  landlord,  is 
something  much  more  difficult  to  be  accomplished. 
In  Prussia,  the  rent  charge  fixed  upon  the  serf,  now 
constituted  a  proprietor,  forms,  as  we  have  seen, 
one  of  the  heaviest  rents  known  in  Europe.  And 
among  the  various  schemes  for  improving  the  con- 
dition of  the  peasantry,  afloat  in  the  east  of  Eu- 
rope, I  know  but  of  one,  that  of  the  Livonian 
nobility,  in  which  a  direct  sacrifice  of  revenue  on 
the  part  of  the  landlords  is  contemplated  as  the 
basis  of  the  expected  amelioration*. 

It  is  unquestionably  the  actual  penury  of  the 
peasants,  and  the  little  which  has  been  done  to 
enable  them  to  take  the  first  steps  to  emerge 
from  it,  which  have,  in  a  great  measure,  frustrated 
all  the  hopes  of  augmented  wealth  and  improved 
civilization,  which  have  been  entertained  by  the  be- 
nevolent reformers  of  the  north.  It  is  this  too, 
which  has  been  the  cause  of  the  apathy  with  which 
the  peasant  has  received  the  gift  of  political  rights. 

2  In  that  instance,  the  tenant  who  before  owed  half  his  labor 
to  the  landlord,  is  protected  against  the  demand  of  more  than 
two  days  in  the  week,  or  one  third. 

176  Rents. 

Booi  I.   and   which   has   made  the  various   boons    bestowed 

upon  him  almost  nominal. 

Summary  Abstracting   then   from  the  efforts  of  landlords 

of  Peasant  ^  i     i      i  •  ^  i     i 

Rents.  or  governments,  and  looking  at  the  whole  extent 
of  that  part  of  the  globe  which  is  at  present  lan- 
guishing under  the  inefficient  efforts  of  a  depressed 
peasant  tenantry,  it  appears  that  when  once  their 
circumstances  have  become  reduced  and  their  poverty 
extreme,  nothing  but  a  relaxation  of  the  terms  of 
their  contract  with  the  landlord,  or  a  diminution 
of  the  burthens  imposed  by  the  state,  can  give  them 
an  opportunity  of  making  that  first  movement  in 
advance  which  must  be  the  initiative  of  their  new 
career.  The  difficulty  of  procuring  such  a  relax- 
ation, arising  often  from  the  necessities  or  the 
blindness,  more  rarely  from  the  pure  selfishness, 
of  the  landlords  or  sovereigns,  is  the  real  cause  of 
the  stagnation  and  inefficiency  of  the  art  of  agricul- 
ture, and  of  the  duration  of  the  present  forms  of 
holding  over  a  great  part  of  the  world.  In  the  hands 
of  a  peasantry  thoroughly  depressed,  cultivation  may 
spread,  but  its  powers  will  not  increase ;  the  people 
may  multiply,  but  the  relative  numbers  of  the  non- 
agricultural  classes  will  not  become  much  greater; 
and  abstracting  from  the  increase  of  gross  numbers, 
the  wealth  and  strength  of  the  population,  and  the 
elements  of  political  institutions,  undergo  no  alter- 

Such  then,  is  the  miserable  cause  which  has 
maintained  the  rude  forms  of  primitive  holding  so 
long  and  so  extensively  unchanged,  and  which 
seems    unhappily   to   promise   them    a   long   period 

Rents.  177 

of  future  dominion,  over   too   many   wide   districts    ^°°^ '; 
of  the  earth.  [_* 

We  may  observe  on  some  small  spots,  of  which  Summary 
England  is  one,  the  effects  of  a  different  system.  Rents. 
Agriculture  is  further  advanced  towards  perfection, 
and  hence  arises  a  capacity  of  supporting  much  more 
numerous  non-agricultural  classes,  which  afford 
abundant  and  excellent  materials  for  a  balanced 
form  of  government;  hence  too,  intellect,  know- 
ledge, leisure,  and  all  the  indications  and  elements 
of  high  civilization  multiplied  and  concentrated. 
Were  the  whole  of  the  earth's  surface  cultivated 
with  like  efficiency,  how  different  would  be  the 
aggregate  of  the  commercial  means,  political  insti- 
tutions, the  intellect  and  civilization  of  the  inha- 
bitants of  our  planet! 

The  advancing  wealth  of  a  body  of  peasantry 
does  not,  however,  always  lead  either  to  the  per- 
manent improvement  of  their  own  condition,  or  to 
an  alteration  in  the  constituent  elements  of  society, 
or  in  the  degree  of  its  civilization.  A  rapid  increase 
of  the  numbers  of  the  cultivators,  and  after  a  time 
a  peasantry  equally  poor  as  at  first,  and  more  nu- 
merous, are  sometimes  the  result  of  an  augmentation 
of  the  revenues  of  a  peasant  tenantry.  More  than 
one  favorable  circumstance  must  concur,  to  make 
the  commencement  of  their  prosperity  a  basis  for  a 
general  advance  of  the  nation,  and  for  the  progressive 
augmentation  of  its  various  elements  of  its  strength 
and  civilization.  What  those  circumstances  are,  we 
shall  have  hereafter  to  observe,  when  examining  the 
causes,  which  at   different  stages,  and  in  different 


178  Rents. 

Book  I,   positions   of  society,    promote   or    retard    improved 
^^P-  "•  habits  in   the  body   of  the  people.     At  present  it 
Summary    ^^  enough  if  we  sec,  that  the  long  endurance  and 
oM'eaaant  stationary  state  of  peasant  tenures  over  a  great  part 
of  the  world,  are  mainly   attributable  to  the  state 
of  poverty  in   which  the  cultivators   have   so  long 
fpund  themselves : — a  state  of  poverty,  which  while 
it  lasts,  effectually  prevents  any  movements  in  ad- 
vance from  originating  with  the  peasants  themselves, 
and  which  can  only  be  relieved  by  such  sacrifices 
on  the  part  of  other  classes,  as  they  are  rarely  able 
and  willing  to  make. 

While  we  have  been  reviewing  the  different 
classes  of  peasant  rents,  those  facts  have  been  stu- 
diously dwelt  upon  and  reproduced,  which  shew  that 
improvement  in  the  efficiency  of  agriculture,  followed 
by  an  increase  of  the  territorial  produce  of  a  country, 
and  consequently  of  its  general  wealth  and  strength, 
is  the  foundation  on  which  a  permanent  and  pro- 
gressive increase  in  the  revenues  of  the  landed  pro- 
prietors can  best  sustain  itself. 

Strange  opinions  as  to  a  necessary  opposition 
between  the  interests  of  the  proprietors  of  the  soil, 
and  those  of  the  rest  of  the  community  and  of  the 
state,  have  lately  been  current.  The  fallacy  of  these 
it  was  thought  would  be  more  easily  and  more  dis- 
tinctly exposed  by  a  simple  exposition  of  facts,  as 
they  exist  in  the  world  around  us,  than 'by  follow- 
ing those  who  have  promulgated  such  opinions,  into 
a  labyrinth  of  abstract  argument.  The  dogmas  al- 
luded to  are  sufficiently  familiar  to  all  readers  of 
later  writers  on  Political  Economy.     Their  substance 

Rents.  179 

and  their  spirit  may  be  collected  from  the  following  Book  i. 
passages.     "The  capacity   of  a  country  to  support    __^ 


and  employ  laborers,  is  in  no  degree   dependent  Summary 
"  on  advantageousness  of  situation,  richness  of  soil,  RentsT" 




or  extent  of  territory \"     "It  appears,   therefore^ 
that  in  the  earliest  stages  of  society,  and  where 
only  the  best  lands  are  cultivated,  no  rent  is  ever 
paid.     The  landlords,   as   such,  do   not  begin  to 
share  in  the  produce  of  the  soil  until  it  becomes 
necessary  to  cultivate  lands  of  an  inferior  degree 
of  fertility,   or   to   apply   capital   to   the  superior 
lands  with  a  diminishing  return.     Whenever  this 
is  the  case,  rent  begins  to  be  paid;  and  it  con- 
tinues to  increase  according  as  cultivation  is  ex- 
"  tended  over  poorer  soils ;  and  diminishes  according 
as  those  poorer  soils  are  thrown  out  of  cultivation"." 
An  increase  of  rent  is  not,  therefore,  as  is  very 
generally  supposed,  occasioned  by  improvements  in 
"  agriculture,  or  by  an  increase  in  the  fertility  of 
"the   soil.     It   results   entirely  from  the   necessity 
"  of  resorting,   as  population   increases,   to   soils   of 
"  a  decreasing  degree  of  fertility.     Rent  varies  in 
"  an  inverse  proportion  to  the  amount   of  produce 
"  obtained  by  means  of  the  capital  and  labor  em- 
"  ployed   in   cultivation,  that  is,   it  increases  when 
"  the    profits   of  agricultural  labor  diminish^    and 
*^ diminishes  when    they  increase^''    "The  rise   of 
"  rent  is  always  the  effect  of  the  increasing  wealth 
"  of  the  country,  and  of  the  difficulty  of  providing 

'  MaccuUoch's  Principles  of  Political  Economy,  p.  3^7. 
«  Ibid.  p.  282.  3  Ibid.  p.  269. 


180  Rmts. 

Book  I.  "  for  its  augmented  population.  It  is  a  symptom, 
°"P'^'  "but  it  is  never  a  cause  of  wealth\"  ''Nothing 
Summary  "  cau  raise  rent,  but  a  demand  for  new  land  of  an 
RentT"*"'  "  inferior  quality,  or  some  cause,  which  shall  occa- 
"  sion  an  alteration  in  the  relative  fertility  of  the 
"land  already  under  cultivation*."  "The  interest 
"  of  the  landlord  is  always  opposed  to  that  of  the 
"consumer  and  manufacturer^."  "The  dealings  be- 
"  tween  the  landlord  and  the  public  are  not  like 
"  dealings  in  trade,  whereby  both  the  seller  and  the 
"buyer  may  equally  be  said  to  gain,  but  the  loss 
"  is  wholly  on  one  side,  and  the  gain  wholly  on  the 
"other*."  "Rent  then  is  a  creation  of  value,  but 
"  not  a  creation  of  wealth ;  it  adds  nothing  to  the 
"resources  of  a  country,  it  does  not  enable  it  to 
"maintain  fleets  and  armies;  for  the  country  would 
"have  a  greater  disposeable  fund  if  its  lands  were 
"  of  a  better  quality,  and  it  could  employ  the  same 
"  capital  without  generating  a  rent.  It  must  then 
"be  admitted,  that  Mr.  Sismondi  and  Mr.  Bu- 
"  chanan,  for  both  their  opinions  were  substantially 
"  the  same,  were  correct,  when  they  considered  rent 
"  as  a  value  purely  nominal,  and  as  forming  no  ad- 
"  dition  to  the  national  wealth,  but  merely  as  a  trans- 
"  fer  of  value,  advantageous  only  to  the  landlords, 
"and  proportionably  injurious  to  the  consumer*." 
The  utter  fallacy  of  these  opinions,  when  applied 
to  any  class  of  peasant  rents,  has  been  shewn  sepa- 

*  Ricardo's  Political  Economy,  2nd  Edit.  p.  62. 

*  Ibid.  p.  518.  3  Ibid.  p.  423. 

*  Ibid.  p.  424.  *  Ibid.  2nd  Edit.  p.  501. 

Rents.  181 

rately  for  each  class  in  the  course  of  the  remarks    ®*** '; 
which  have  already  been  made :  viz.  for  labor  rents,    _^'' 
at  p.  61.,  for  metayers,  at  p.  105.,  for  ryots,  at  p.  140.,  ^^^^ 
and  for  cottier  rents  at  p.  153.  R«""- 

But  let  us  for  a  moment  picture  to  ourselves 
the  effects  of  an  address,  by  a  philosopher  of  this 
school,  to  an  assembly  composed  of  sovereign  pro- 
prietors of  territories  occupied  by  ryots,  and  of 
the  landholders  of  countries  cultivated  by  serfs, 
metayers,  or  cottiers.  He  would  assure  them, 
from  Mr.  MaccuUoch,  that  the  extent  and  rich- 
ness of  the  tracts  of  country  they  might  own, 
affected  in  no  degree  their  power  of  supporting 
and  employing  an  industrious  population :  that  in 
the  earliest  stages  of  society  (being  those  with  which 
they  are  the  most  familiar)  no  rents  are  ever  paid: 
that  they  only  begin  to  be  paid  when  it  becomes 
necessary  to  cultivate  lands  of  an  inferior  degree  of 
fertility.  He  would  further  inform  the  landholders, 
that  no  improvements  of  their  income  could  ever 
by  possibility  originate  in  improvements  in  agricul- 
ture, or  in  an  increased  fertility  of  the  soil.  He 
would  tell  them  too,  that  every  augmentation  of 
their  rental  must  result  entirely  from  the  necessity 
of  resorting,  as  population  increased,  to  soils  of  a 
decreasing  degree  of  fertility.  That  the  decrepitude 
of  agriculture,  and  the  prosperity  of  the  owners  of 
the  land,  advanced  always  hand  in  hand ;  that  their 
revenues  must  vary  always  in  an  inverse  proportion 
to  the  amount  of  produce  obtained  by  means  of  the 
capital  and  labor  employed  in  cultivation,  and  that 
their  rents,  therefore,  would  increase  as  the  profits 

1«2  Rents. 

Booi  I.   of  agricultural   labor   diminished,  and  would  dimi- 
__^*   nish  as  the  profits  of  agricultural  labor   increased. 
Summary  The  tcachcr  might  next  take  Mr.  Ricardo's  for 

RentT**"  his  text-book,  and  after  enforcing  his  dogmas  from 
this  parent  source,  he  might  proceed  farther  with  his 
revelations,  and  expound  to  his  audience,  that  their 
interests  as  landlords  were  always  opposed  to  those 
of  the  non-agricultural  classes  of  the  community, 
that  the  increase  of  their  share  of  the  produce  of 
the  soil  was  a  creation  of  value  but  not  a  creation 
of  wealth;  that  such  an  increase  added  nothing  to 
the  general  stock  of  riches,  nothing  to  the  common 
resources  of  the  state,  nothing  to  its  ability  to  main- 
tain its  public  establishments. 

We  may  imagine  surely  the  amazement  of  the 
listening  circle  of  landholders  of  various  descriptions. 
They  would  know  that  they  were  surrounded,  as 
their  forefathers  had  been,  by  a  peasant  population 
yielding  a  part  of  their  produce  or  their  labor,  as 
a  tribute  for  the  use  of  the  ground  from  which  they 
raised  their  food,  and  to  which  they  must  cling  or 
die.  The  lords  of  the  soil  would  feel  therefore,  that 
their  revenue,  as  landed  proprietors,  owed  neither 
its  origin  nor  its  continuance  to  the  existence  of 
gradations  in  the  qualities  of  land.  They  would 
know  that,  as  far  as  their  experience  had  gone,  with 
improvements  in  agriculture,  and  with  the  increase  of 
the  fertility  of  the  soil,  the  amount  of  produce  which 
formed  their  annual  rents  had  steadily  increased,  and 
they  would  have  found  that  they  became  wealthier 
as  the  labor  of  their  peasant  tenantry  produced  more 
from  the  earth,  and  that  they  became  poorer  as  it 

Rents.  183 

produced  less.     It  would  be  impossible  for  them  to   b««k  i. 

„      .    •  1  J     Chap.  vi. 

doubt,  that  their  power  of  giving  employment  and    

support  to  a  population  of  laboring  cultivators,  de-  Summary 
pended  mainly  on  the  quantity  and  quality  of  the  Rents, 
land  at  their  disposal.  They  could  not  shut  their 
eyes  to  the  physical  fact,  that  increasing  produce 
converted  into  increased  rents,  constituted  a  fresh 
creation  of  material  riches.  They  could  only  feel 
bewildered,  when  they  were  told,  that  in  the  case 
of  such  an  increase,  though  there  might  be  a  cre- 
ation of  value,  there  could  not  be  a  creation  of 
wealth.  They  must  be  aware  that  the  distribution 
of  their  revenue  was  the  direct  source  of  the  main- 
tenance of  the  greater  part  of  the  non-agricultural 
classes  of  the  population  amidst  which  they  lived; 
they  could  not  hear,  without  astonishment,  that  the 
increase  of  their  revenue  was  a  misfortune  to  those 
classes.  Finally,  observing  that  in  ryot  monarchies 
the  fleets  and  armies  of  the  state  were  wholly 
maintained  from  the  rents  of  the  sovereign  pro- 
prietor, and  that  in  serf  and  metayer  countries, 
rents  always  contributed  more  or  less  to  similar 
purposes;  they  would  listen  with  amazement  to  the 
doctrine,  that  the  increase  of  the  territorial  reve- 
nues of  a  state,  added  in  no  case  any  thing  to 
its  public  strength,  or  to  its  ability  to  maintain 
its  military  establishments. 

It  is  difficult  to  imagine,  that  among  a  circle 
full  of  such  recollections  our  lecturer  would  make 
converts.  His  audience  would  be  apt  to  believe, 
that  the  philosopher  they  were  listening  to  must 
have  fallen  from  some  other  planet :  that  the  scene 

184  RenU. 

Book  I.    of  his  experience  must  have  differed   widely   from 

^^^'  ^'   the  scenes  of  theirs,  and  that  it  was  quite  impos- 

Summary    sible,  the  various  propositions  he  was  endeavouring 

o^^sant  ^^   impress    upon   them,    could   have    been   derived 

from  a  review  of  the  facts   with  which  they  were 

daily  familiar. 

In  truth,  it  is  not  easy  to  read  any  of  the  pro- 
ductions of  this  school  of  writers,  without  seeing, 
that  their  system  as  to  rent,  is  derived  exclusively 
from  an  examination  of  the  class  of  farmers'  rents. 
And  this  class  (however  interesting  to  us  as  English- 
men) has  already  been  stated  not  to  extend  itself 
over  one-hundredth  part  of  the  cultivated  surface  of 
the  earth.  We  shall  presently,  in  examining  that 
particular  division  of  rents,  have  occasion  to  shew, 
that  the  writers  we  have  been  quoting  and  their  fol- 
lowers, have  been  not  less  hasty  and  erroneous  in 
deducing  principles  from  the  narrow  class  of  facts 
before  their  minds,  than  they  have  been  rash  in 
attempting  to  apply  those  principles  to  the  expla- 
nation of  the  phenomena  connected  with  rent,  over 
that  vast  portion  of  the  surface  of  the  globe  to 
which  their  facts  are  obviously  and  utterly  inap- 

We  leave  now  then  those  primitive  tenures,  which 
decide  the  lot  of  that  large  portion  of  the  human 
race,  which  produces  its  own  food  with  its  own 
hands  from  the  soil,  and  turn  to  trace  the  reve- 
nues of  the  landed  proprietors  when  another  class  of 
agriculturists  have  taken  possession  of  the  task  of 
cultivation,  on  terms  different  in  themselves  and 
affected  in  their  variations  by  different  causes. 

CHAP.  VII.     SECT.  I. 

Farmers'  lienU.     Introduction. 

The   rents  we  are  about  to   examine,  offer   at   Book  i. 
first   sight,  it  must  be  confessed,  a  less   attractive    ^J^  j  ' 

field  of  investigation  than  those  which  we  have  left.    

We  have  no  longer  to  consider  rents  as  mainly  Fiji's!" 
determining  by  their  forms  and  their  results  the 
destinies  of  nations.  Those  now  before  us  can  only 
exist  when  the  most  important  relations  of  the  dif- 
ferent classes  of  society  have  ceased  to  originate  in 
the  ownership  and  occupation  of  the  soil.  When 
a  race  of  capitalists  have  made  their  appearance, 
to  take  charge  of  the  varied  industry  of  a  popu- 
lation, and  advance  from  their  own  funds  the  wages 
of  its  labor,  property  in  land,  and  the  forms  of 
tenancy  it  may  give  birth  to,  no  longer  influence 
in  the  first  degree,  either  the  springs  of  govern- 
ment, or  the  constituent  elements  of  society.  The 
composition  of  the  community  becomes  more  com- 
plicated, other  interests  and  other  sources  of  power 
mingle  their  forces  to  determine  the  character  and 
condition  of  a  people,  and  affect  the  detail  of  all 
their  multiplied  connexions.  Even  in  this  state  of 
things,  however,  that  cannot  be  other  than  an  im- 
portant attempt,  which  seeks  to  discover  the  man- 
ner in  which  the  revenues  of  the  landed  class  swell 
and  enlarge  themselves  with  the  progress  of  the 
community,  so  as  to  preserve  some  proportion  with 
the  growing  wealth  of  the  body  of  the  people. 


186  Rents. 

Book  I.  But  the  examination  of  the  various  causes  which 

Sect,  T  ^ff'sct  the  progress  of  rents  at  this  more  advanced 
period  of  a  people's  existence,  is  7iot  merely  inte- 
resting in  itself  In  the  present  peculiar  state  of 
public  opinion  on  these  subjects,  such  an  examina- 
tion can  hardly  fail  to  throw  a  useful  light  on  other 
divisions  of  the  subject  of  the  "distribution  of  the 
national  wealth."  It  will  disencumber,  for  instance, 
of  many  false  facts  and  erroneous  opinions,  our  future 
examination  of  the  course  of  profits  and  wages  in 
the  more  advanced  stages  of  society.  It  will  tend 
to  remove  a  common,  though  strange  and  painful 
belief,  as  to  some  necessary  connexion  between  the 
progress  of  the  mass  of  rents  and  a  gradual  decrease 
in  the  national  power  of  providing  food  for  increas- 
ing numbers.  It  will  (incidentally)  help  to  explain 
the  mutations  which  take  place  in  the  relative  num- 
bers and  influence  of  the  agricultural  and  non-agri- 
cultural classes.  These,  and  similar  results,  which 
will  present  themselves  in  the  course  of  the  enquiry 
on  which  we  are  about  to  enter,  will,  in  a  degree 
compensate,  it  must  be  hoped,  for  the  rather  dry 
^nd  abstract  nature  of  some  of  the  calculations  and 
reasonings  which  must  be  employed. 

Origin  of  Farmers'  Rents. 

That  system  of  cultivation  by  peasants,  which 
we  have  been  examining,  and  the  various  relations 
between  the  landlords  and  the  husbandmen  to  which 
it  gives  birth,  have  been  succeeded  on  particular 
spots  of  the  globe,  slowly  and  partially,  by  a  dif- 

Rents.  187 

ferent  mode  of  managing  agriculture,  and  the  effect  ^^"*^  .. 
of  this  change  on  rents  we  have  now  to  trace.  scct.  i. 

After  a  certain  progress  in  civilization  and  wealth,    

the  wages  of  the  laboring  class  consist  no  longer  of  r^Z!"" 
a  revenue  which  they  themselves  extract  from  the 
earth ;  food  accumulates  in  the  hands  of  capitalists 
(or  persons  using  their  accumulated  stock  to  make 
a  profit  from  it)  in  sufficient  quantities  to  enable 
them  to  advance  the  laborer  his  maintenance  during 
the  progress  of  his  various  tasks ;  they  receive  the 
produce  of  those  tasks  when  completed,  and  the 
great  essential  step  has  then  been  taken,  which  con- 
fers on  a  dass  of  men  distinct  from  both  landlords 
and  laborers,  the  management  of  the  national  in- 

This  change  usually  begins  with  the  non-agri- 
cultural classes ;  it  is  the  artizans  and  the  handi- 
craftsmen who  first  range  themselves  under  the 
management  of  capitalists ;  and  to  this  point  most 
nations,  which  have  any  pretensions  to  civilization, 
have  advanced.  The  case  is  different  with  the  cul- 
tivators. Among  some  of  the  most  polished  people 
of  the  globe,  and  over  the  greater  part  of  its  sur- 
face, the  agricultural  laborers  are  themselves  the 
managers  of  agriculture :  their  wages,  as  we  have 
seen,  never  subsist  in  any  other  character  than  that 
of  a  revenue  of  their  own,  and  they  exert  and  direct 
their  labor  at  their  own  discretion. 

There  are,  however,  districts  of  very  small  com- 
parative extent,  in  which  both  the  agricultural  and 
other  laborers  are  fed  and  employed  by  capitalists. 
These   capitalists   receive   of  course  the  produce  of 

188  Renfs. 

Book  1.   ^\^q  \ahoT  they  maintain,  and  are  responsible  to  the 

'Jhap.  vii. 
Sect.  1. 

*^  "^  owner  of  the  soil  for  its  stipulated  rent. 


One  of  the  immediate  consequences  of  this  change 
is  the  power  of  moving  at  pleasure  the  labor  and 
capital  employed  in  agriculture,  to  other  occupations. 
While  the  tenant  was  himself  a  laboring  peasant, 
forced,  in  the  absence  of  other  funds  for  his  main- 
tenance, to  extract  it  himself  from  the  soil,  he  was 
chained  to  that  soil  by  necessity ;  and  the  little  stock 
he  might  possess,  since  it  was  not  sufficient  to  pro- 
cure him  a  maintenance  unless  used  for  the  single 
purposes  of  cultivation,  was  virtually  chained  to  the 
soil  with  its  master.  But  when  the  employers  of 
the  laborers  hold  in  their  hands  an  accumulated 
fund  equal  to  their  support,  this  dependance  on  the 
soil  is  broken:  and  unless  as  much  can  be  gained 
by  employing  the  working  class  on  the  land,  as  from 
their  exertions  in  various  other  employments,  which 
in  such  a  state  of  society  abound,  the  business  of 
cultivation  will  be  abandoned. 

Rent,  in  such  a  case,  necessarily  consists  merely 
of  surplus  profits ;  that  is,  of  all  that  can  be  gained 
by  employing  a  certain  quantity  of  capital  and  labor 
upon  the  land,  more  could  be  gained  by  it  in  any 
other  occupation. 

Severance  of  the  Connection  between  Rent  and 


Rents  thus  constituted,  cease  at  once  to  decide 
the  amount  of  wages.  While  obliged  to  extract 
his  own  food  from  the  earth,  the  quantity  of  pro- 
duce which  the  laborer  retained,  the  amount,  that 

Renh.  1 8y 

is,  of  his  real  wages,  depended,  we  liave  seen,  mainly    Book  i 
on  the  contract  made  with  the  proprietor.  *^\^^^  J"' 

When  the   engagement  of  the   laborer  is   with    

a  capitalist,  this  dependance  on  the  landlord  is  dis-  J^^^s*^" 
solved,  and  the  amount  of  his  wages  is  determined 
by  other  causes.  These  we  shall  hereafter  trace ;  but 
the  termination  of  the  influence  of  rents  on  wages, 
is  an  era  in  the  progress  of  both,  too  marked  to 
be  passed  in  silence.  It  is  this  circumstance  which 
mainly  distinguishes  the  agricultural  laborers  of 
England  from  those  of  the  rest  of  the  world.  For 
if  we  except  Holland  and  the  Netherlands,  Eng- 
land is  the  only  country  in  which  the  system  of 
rents  we  are  about  to  examine,  prevails  exclusively, 
or  even  principally. 


Different  Modes  in  which  Farmers'  Rents  may  increase. 

When  rents  consist  of  surplus  profits,  there  are    Book  i. 
three   causes  from   which   the   rent  of  a  particular  ^^^p"'- 

spot  of  ground  may  increase.    First,  an  increase  of    

the  produce  from  the  accumulation  of  larger  quan-  ^-3"^^^^$'°^ 
tities  of  capital  in  its  cultivation ;  Secondly,  the  ^^""'• 
more  efficient  application  of  capital  already  employed ; 
Thirdly,  (the  capital  and  produce  remaining  the 
same)  the  diminution  of  the  share  of  the  produc- 
ing classes  in  that  produce,  and  a  corresponding  in- 
crease of  the  share  of  the  landlord.  These  causes 
may  combine  in   different  proportions   in    the   aue:- 

190  Rents. 

Book  I.  mciitation  of  the  rents  of  a  country  cultivated  by 

Chap.  vii.  capitalists,  but  when   the  distinct  power  and  mode 

of  operation   of    each    are    once    understood,    their 

Increase  of  \q\i^i  action  will  bc  casily  calculated. 

Farmers        "  •' 


On  the  Progress  and  Effects  of  a  Rise  of  Rents 
from   an  Increase  of  Produce,   caused  hy   the 
Use  of  more  Capital  in  Cultivation. 

In  thinly  peopled  and  rude  countries,  the  quan- 
tity of  labor  and  capital  employed  in  the  cultiva- 
tion of  the  soil,  is  usually  small  when  compared 
with  the  extent  of  ground  occupied.  Wide  natural 
pastures  on  which  a  few  cattle  pick  up  a  precarious 
living,  ploughed  lands  worked  to  exhaustion,  and 
then  carelessly  rested,  rude  implements,  scanty  build- 
ings, deficient  fencing  and  draining,  these  circum- 
stances all  mark  the  agriculture  of  Poland  or  Hun- 
gary, and  very  many  other  countries,  now,  as  they 
did  that  of  England  in  other  days.  As  the  num- 
bers and  skill  of  the  people  increase,  the  modes 
of  cultivation  and  the  face  of  the  country  change : 
the  districts  devoted  to  forests  or  rough  pasturage 
shrink,  the  ground  is  either  converted  into  rich 
meadows,  or  ploughed  up,  and  made,  by  a  judicious 
rotation  of  crops,  to  combine  with  and  strengthen 
the  general  system  of  the  farmer.  The  portion  of 
the  old  cultivated  lands  once  devoted  to  leys  and 
fallows  is  carefully  attended  to,  becomes  less  in 
extent,  and  has  its  productiveness  increased  by  being 
made  to  bear  green  crops  while  resting  from  com. 
While  this  change  is  in  progress,  the  cattle  main- 

Rents.  191 

tained  for  draft  or  slaughter  multiply  rapidly  :  better    ^°^^  ^; 
and  more  numerous  implements,  drains,  fences  and    gect.  2. 

buildings  make  their  appearance :    all,  and  perhaps    

more   than   all,    the   labor   and  capital   which  once  Farmers'"^ 
loosely  occupied  500  acres,  are  now  concentrated  for  ^^"''''• 
the  more  complete  tillage  of  100. 

We  have  to  examine  what  must  be  the  effects  of 
this  progressive  increase  of  capital  on  the  surplus 
profits  or  rents  realized  on  each  portion  of  the  soil. 

Corn  may  be  selling  either  at  a  monopoly  price, 
that  is,  at  a  price  which  more  than  pays  the  costs  and 
profits  of  those  who  grow  it  under  the  least  favourable 
circumstances ;  or  at  such  a  price  as  will  only  repay 
their  common  profits.  Let  us  first  consider  it,  as  sell- 
ing at  a  monopoly  price.  Then,  abstracting  from  all 
difference  of  fertility  in  the  soils  cultivated,  the  rent 
will  consist  of  that  portion  of  the  price  of  the  produce, 
which  exceeds  the  cost  of  production,  and  the  ordi- 
nary rate  of  profit  on  that  cost.  Let  10  per  cent,  be 
the  ordinary  rate  of  profit.  If  the  corn  produced 
on  any  spot  of  land  by  £l00.  sold  for  £ll5.,  the 
rent  would  be  £5.  If  in  the  progress  of  improve- 
ment the  capital  employed  on  the  same  land  were 
doubled,  and  the  produce  doubled,  then  £200.  would 
yield  £230.,  and  £220.  being  capital  and  profits, 
the  surplus,  or  £lO.,  would  be  rent,  and  the  rent  will 
be  doubled.  If  corn,  then,  is  at  a  monopoly  price, 
increased  produce  obtained  by  increased  capital  (prices 
remaining  the  same)  may  increase  the  rents,  in  pro- 
portion to  the  increased  capital  laid  out. 

Such  a  case  as  this,  though  very  unusual,  may 
occur ;  and  therefore  must  not  be  omitted.     In  small 

192  Rents. 

Book  I. 
Chap.  vii. 

communities  corn  may  be  constantly  at  a  monopoly 
Sea.  2.  price.  It  is  so  probably  in  the  Isle  of  Jersey,  where 
there  is  always  a  pressing  demand  for  raw  produce, 

Increase  of,.,.  .  ^  -nTi 

Fanners'  which  lu  war  kept  up  rents  to  ±,14.  per  li,nghsh  acre, 
and  in  peace  to  £6.  or  £7.  In  larger  countries  too, 
though  possessing  much  uncultivated  soil,  corn  may, 
for  a  long  period  of  time,  be  at  a  monopoly  price,  pro- 
vided the  increase  of  population  keeps  steadily  ahead 
of  the  increase  of  tillage. 

It  must  be  confessed,  however,  that  a  continuous 
monopoly  price  of  corn  is  a  circumstance  which, 
though  not  impossible,  is  very  unusual  in  countries  of 
considerable  extent  and  great  variety  of  soil.  In 
such  countries,  if  the  produce  of  the  soils  in  cultiva- 
tion sells  for  more  than  will  realize  the  usual  rate  of 
profit  on  the  capital  employed,  other  lands  are  culti- 
vated ;  or  more  capital  laid  out  on  the  old  lands,  till 
the  cultivator  finds  he  can  barely  get  the  ordinary 
profit  on  his  outlay.  Then,  of  course,  tillage  will 
stop,  and  in  such  countries,  therefore,  com  is  usually 
sold  at  a  price,  not  more  than  sufficient  to  replace  the 
capital  employed  under  the  least  favorable  circum- 
stances, and  the  ordinary  rate  of  profit  on  it :  and  the 
rent  paid  on  the  better  soils  is  then  measured  by  the 
excess  of  their  produce  over  that  of  the  poorest  soil 
cultivated  by  similar  capitals.  If  ^  be  a  soil  which 
produces  to  a  quantity  of  capital  (w)  10  quarters,  and 
pays  the  ordinary  profits  on  stock ;  then  B,  if  to 
the  same  capital  (w)  it  yields  12  quarters,  will  have 
the  price  of  two  quarters  as  surplus  profits,  and  will 
pay  it  as  rent.  Let  us  suppose  a  country  then,  pos- 
sessing gradations  of  soil,  increasing  in  fertility  from 

Rents.  193 

A  to  Z,  of  which  A  returns  to  £  100.  £  110.,  and  the    ko^*^  I; 
others  progressively  to   Z,  more  than  £llO.     This    sc«.2" 

will  represent  the  real  position  of  the  soils  cultivated    

in  such  extensive  countries.  In  the  progress  of  num-  J"amers'°^ 
bers,  of  wealth  and  knowledge,  let  us  suppose  a  rude  ^^^^^' 
and  unskilful  mode  of  cultivation  gradually  giving 
place  to  a  better;  and  additional  capital  and  labor 
accumulating  for  the  more  complete  culture  of  every 
class  of  soil :  and  then  let  us  observe  what  would  be 
the  necessary  effects  upon  rents  (or  surplus  profits)  of 
this  general  accumulation  of  capital,  in  the  cultiva- 
tion of  soils  of  unequal  goodness. 

Let  A  have  been  formerly  cultivated  with  £lOO. 
yielding  annually  £llO.,  £lO.  being  the  ordinary 
profits  on  stock  :  and  B  with  £100.  yielding  £115. : 
and  Cwith  £100.  yielding  £120-:  and  so  on  to  Z. 
As  all  above  £110.  on  each  would  be  surplus  profits., 
or  rent,  the  rent  of  B  would  be  £5.,  and  that  of  C 
£lO.,  &c.  &c.  In  some  indefinite  time  let  each  of 
these  qualities  of  soil  be  cultivated  with  a  capital  of 
£200.,  and  their  relative  fertility  remaining  as  before, 
let  their  produce  be  proportionably  increased,  A  will 
produce  £220.,  ^£230.,  C£240.  All  above  £220. 
on  each  will  now  be  surplus  profits,  or  rent.  The 
rent  of -B,  therefore,  will  have  become  £lO.,  that  of 
C  £20.  That  is>  the  rent  of  each  will  have  doubled.  It 
is  in  this  manner  that  the  increasing  amount  of  capital 
employed  on  the  land  of  an  improving  country  ne- 
cessarily elevates  rents  (or  the  surplus  profits)  on 
all  the  better  soils;  and  this  quite  independently 
of  alterations,  either  in  the  relative  fertility  of  the 
soils  cultivated,  or  in  the  amount  of  produce  obtained 


194  Rents. 

Book  I.    by  the  application  of  given  quantities  of  capital  to 
ap.  vn.  ^1^^  inferior  soils. 

Sect.  2. 

It  may  be  suggested,  perhaps,  that  though  we 

Famm'°^  admit  the  additional  capital  employed  on  the  worst 
^^^  soil,  to  yield  the  same  profit  as  that  with  which  it 
was  originally  cultivated,  (a  circumstance  of  which 
we  shall  presently  examine  the  probability),  still 
it  is  not  probable  that  the  better  lands  will  yield  a 
larger  produce  to  the  additional  capital  used,  exactly 
proportioned  to  the  superiority  of  their  original 
fertility.  This  may  be  so,  and  a  rise  of  rents 
will  still  take  place,  but  it  will  be  different  in 

They  yielded  to  the  first  £100.  laid  out  as 
capital,  ^  £110.,  1?  £115.,  C  £l20.  Let  them 
yield  to  the  second,  A  £110.,  B  £113.,  C  £118. 
All  above  £110.  of  the  additional  produce  will  be 
rent,  B  will  then  pay  £3.  additional  rent,  C  £8. 
The  relative  fertility  of  the  different  soils  will  be 
changed.  The  superiority  of  the  better  soils  will 
have  become  less,  if  considered  relatively  to  the 
whole  mass  of  capital  now  employed  on  each;  but 
still  rents  will  rise  generally :  not  so  much,  how- 
ever, it  will  be  observed,  as  if  the  relative  fertility 
of  the  various  soils,  after  the  additional  outlay  on 
all,  remained  precisely  the  same.  It  is  probable, 
that  in  i?i06t  instances  the  actual  rise  will  accord  with 
the  first  calculation  ;  and  that  the  several  additions 
will  be  proportioned  to  the  original  goodness  of  the 
soils.  If  B  and  C  had  a  certain  superiority  over  ^, 
when  cultivated  in  rough  pastures,  corn  crops,  and 
fallows,  then  when  the  pasture  and  fallows  of  each 

Rents.  195 

have,  by  the  application  of  more  labor  and  capital,  ^°°^  .V 

•/•    •    1  •       Chap.  vu. 

been  covered  with  pulse,  roots,  or  artificial  grasses,  it    sect.  2. 

is  probable  that  the  superior  productiveness  of  each    

will  continue  to  be  in  about  the  same  proportion.  Farmers' 
All,  however,  that  is  necessary  to  effect  a  rise  of  rents 
over  the  surface  of  a  country  possessing  soils  of 
unequal  goodness,  is  this :  that  the  better  soils 
should  yield  to  the  additional  capital  employed 
upon  them  in  the  progress  of  cultivation,  some- 
thing more  than  the  soils  confessedly  inferior  to 
them ;  for  then  while  means  can  be  found  of  em- 
ploying fresh  capital  on  any  soil  between  the  ex- 
tremes A  and  Z,  at  the  ordinary  rate  of  profit, 
rents  will  rise  on  all  the .  soils  superior  to  that  par- 
ticular soil. 

Once  more,  then,  the  general  accumulation  of 
the  capital  employed  in  cultivation,  while  it  aug- 
ments the  produce  of  all  gradations  of  soils,  some- 
what in  proportion  to  their  original  goodness,  must 
of  itself  raise  rents ;  without  reference  to  any  progres- 
sive diminution  in  the  return  to  the  labor  and  capital 
employed,  and,  indeed,  quite  independently  of  any 
other  cause  whatever.  We  know  that  a  great  in- 
crease in  the  amount  of  capital  employed  in  agri- 
culture, is  observable  in  the  progress  of  all  improving 
countries,  as  it  has  taken  place  in  our  own.  This 
cause,  therefore,  must  necessarily  have  a  very  con- 
siderable share  in  producing  the  rise  of  rents,  which 
ordinarily  takes  place  in  all  countries  increasing  in 
riches  and  population. 

This  might  reasonably  be  expected:  a  general 
increase  of  the  produce  of  the  land,  following  the 

V  '> 

196  Rents. 

^^^  ^'.    application    of  additional   capital   and   labor   to   its 
g^^'  2.     more  perfect  cultivation,  seems  a  very  natural  and 

obvious  cause  of  a  rise  of  rents. 

F^m'  It  has,  however,  been  very  positively  denied,  that 

^^^  rents  can  ever  be  thus  increased ;  even  in  the  strong- 
est case  we  have  put,  that  of  an  undiminished  return 
to  additional  capital,  and  an  unaltered  proportion 
in  the  produce  of  the  different  soils. 

It  has  been  stated,  indeed,  that  such  an  undi- 
minished return  to  the  additional  capital  bestowed 
upon  the  old  land  is  impossible  from  the  laws  of 
nature  ;  and  that  if  possible,  it  would  effectually  keep 
down  rents :  that  all  improvements  in  agriculture 
must  check  their  progress,  and  so  be  prejudicial 
to  the  interests  of  the  landlords :  and  that  nothing' 
can  raise  rents  but  some  cause  which  shall  alter  the 
relative  fertility  of  the  lands  in  cultivation.  These 
are  the  well  known  opinions  of  Mr.  Ricardo.  That 
gentleman  having  adopted  as  the  basis  of  a  very  com- 
plicated and  ingenious  system  of  the  distribution  of 
wealth,  the  single  fact  of  a  progressive  and  invari- 
able diminution  to  the  returns  of  agricultural  labor, 
decided  that  this  was  the  cause,  and  the  sole  cause, 
of  every  general  rise  of  rents  which  could  take 
place  in  the  progress  of  nations.  It  became  ne- 
cessary, then,  for  him  to  shew  that  every  other  sup- 
posed source  of  increasing  rents  was  imaginary,  and 
among  them  the  one  we  have  been  stating,  namely, 
a  generally  increased  produce,  from  the  employment 
of  greater  quantities  of  capital  in  cultivation.  Mr. 
Kicardo- accordingly  first  declares  :  "  That  with  every 
*'  increased   portion    of  capital   employed   upon  the 

Rents.  197 

*'  land,  there  must  be  a  diminished  rate  of  produc-   book  i. 
"tion\"  ^^"P-^"- 

This  proved,  it  would  of  course  be  impossible  that     

the  produce  should  increase,  as  we  have  supposed  it  to  Jpcrease  of 

increase,  in  the  same  proportion  as  the  capital  laid  R«nts. 

out.     But   he  further  declares,  that  if  it  could  so 

increase,  no   rise   of  rents   would   follow :  he   says : 

"  If  capital  could  be  indefinitely  employed  upon  the 

"  old  land  without  a  diminished  return,  there  could 

"  be  no   rise   of  rent*^."     "  Improvements    in   agri- 

"  culture,  which  are  common  to  all  lands,  and  do 

"  not  much   disturb  the  relative  proportions  which 

**  before   existed  between   them,   cannot   raise  rent, 

"  because  nothing  can  raise  rent  but  a  demand  for 

"  new  land  of  an  inferior  quality,  or  some  cause  that 

"  shall  occasion  an  alteration  ii)  the  relative  fertility 

"of  the   land  already   under   cultivation."     "Rent 

"  invariably   proceeds  from    the  employment   of  an 

"  additional  quantity  of  labor,  with  a  proportionally 

"  less  retiu-nl" 

The  opinion  that  the  powers  of  agricultural 
capital  necessarily  decrease,  as  the  quantity  employed 
increases,  is  the  one  of  which,  perhaps,  it  is  the  most 
important  to  see  the  unsoundness:  if  no  additional 
produce  could  ever  be  obtained  from  the  soil,  without 
a  diminished  return  to  the  capital  and  labor  em- 
ployed, such  a  law  of  production  would  materially 
influence,  no  doubt,  though  in  different  directions, 
the  fortunes  of  all  classes  of  society.     And  if  there 

'   Ricardo,  3rd  edit.  p.  ^S.  ^  Ibid.  2nd  edit.  p.  55. 

3  Ibid.  2nd  edit.  pp.  .518,  Sip. 

198  Rents. 

Book  I.   be  HO  such  law,  those  who  have  set  out  with  assuming 
Sea.  2"    ^^^    existence    and   unceasing   action   and   influence, 

must   necessarily   have   been   led   into   very    serious 

fSS"^  mistakes  as  to  the  real  causes  of  that  gradual   in- 
^^^        crease   of  the    revenues   of   the   landed    proprietors 
which  is   usually  seen   to   keep  pace  with   the  pro- 
gress of  the  art  of  cultivation. 

Mr.  Ricardo's  views  of  the  necessary  decrease  in 
the  return  to  every  successive  portion  of  the  capital 
and  labor  bestowed  on  the  same  land,  are  put  very 
distinctly  and  forcibly  by  Mr.  Mill,  whose  work,  in 
many  of  its  parts,  is  a  condensed  exposition  of  Mr. 
Ricardo's  opinions. 

"  A  piece  of  land,'^  Mr.  Mill  says,  in  the  com- 
mencement of  his  Section  on  rent\  "  may  be  capable 
"  of  yielding  annually  10  quarters  of  corn,  or  twice 
"  10,  or  3  times  10.  It  yields,  however,  the  first  10, 
"with  a  certain  quantity  of  labor,  the  second  10  not 
"  without  a  greater,  the  third  10  with  a  greater  still, 
and  so  on ;  every  additional  10  requiring  to  its 
production  a  greater  cost  than  the  10  which  pre- 
"  ceded  it.  This  is  well  known  to  be  the  law,  ac- 
"  cording  to  which,  hy  a  greater  expenditure  of 
"  capital,  a  greater  produce  is  obtained,  from  the 
*'  same  portion  of  land'^ 

The  law  thus  unhesitatingly  described  by  Mr. 
Mill,  and  as  unhesitatingly  reasoned  upon  by  Mr.  Ri- 
cardo  and  all  his  followers,  as  the  sole  basis  of  their 
theory  of  rent,  is  one,  the  existence  of  which  it  re- 
quires,   at    least,    strong   facts   to   prove.     If  every 

1  Mill's  Elements,  Jrtl  edit.  p.  iij). 

Rents.  199 

successive  addition  to  the  produce  of  the  soil  requires    i^ook  i. 

Chap.  vii. 
Sect.  2. 

additional   cost  to   obtain  it,   then   improved   culti-       *p-^"- 

vation  and  increased  crops  are,  really,  only  steps  in    

the  declension  of  the  powers  of  agriculture.  Farmers'"^ 

The  average  corn  produce  of  England  at  one  time  ^™'®' 
did  not  exceed  12  bushels  per  acre;  it  is  now  about 
double.  Are  we  to  believe  that  there  is  a  law  of 
nature,  which  makes  it  inevitable  that  the  cost  of 
getting  24  bushels  from  one  acre  is  really  more  than 
the  cost  of  getting  the  same  quantity  from  two  ? 

Very  obvious  considerations  point,  surely,  to  an 
opposite  conclusion.  The  more  contracted  space  in 
which  the  operations  of  the  husbandry,  which  pro- 
duces the  24  bushels,  are  now  carried  on,  must  give 
some  advantages^  and  save  some  expense ;  the  fencing, 
draining,  seed,  harvest  work,  and  even  tillage  to 
some  extent,  must  surely  be  less  when  confined  to  an 
acre,  than  when  spread  over  two.  The  ancient  agri- 
culturists were  certainly  of  this  opinion,  as  I  believe 
the  moderns  are.  "  Nee  dubium,"  says  Columella, 
"  quin  minus  rcddat  laxus  ager  non  recte  cultus 
"  quam  angustus  eximie^r 

That  there  is  a  certain  point,  beyond  which  hu- 
man labor  cannot  be  employed  upon  a  limited  spot 
of  ground,  without  a  diminished  return  to  its  ex- 
ertions, must  be  admitted  at  once.  But  in  the  pro- 
gress of  those  improvements  in  the  art  of  cultivation, 
by  which  its  most  profitable  amovmt  of  produce  is 
approached,  it  may  be  very  possible,  that  every  suc- 
cessive portion  of  the  capital  and  labor  concentrated 

'  Columella,   Lib.  I.  c.  3. 

200  Rents. 

Book  I.   ^^  ^^  hxidi,  may  be  more  economically  and  eflficiently 

Sect.  2.    applied  than  the  last. 

Such  a  law  would  be  at  least  as  probable  a  priori 

xUckslS/c  of* 

Farmers'  as  that  which  supposcs  that  heavier  crops,  and  less 
productive  cultivation,  are  inseparable. 

If  indeed  we  were  to  confine  our  views  to  some 
very  minute  spot  of  ground,  to  a  square  yard,  for 
instance,  we  might  for  an  instant  be  misled  into  ac- 
quiescing in  the  plausibility,  at  least,  of  this  un- 
pleasant version  of  the  laws  of  nature.  When  such 
a  spot  had  been  weeded,  and  dug,  and  drained,  and 
manured,  as  well  as  our  present  knowledge  made 
possible,  it  might  seem  that  more  labour  bestowed 
upon  it  must  be  more  feebly  rewarded. 

Even  as  to  such  a  limited  spot  we  might  possibly 
be  mistaken :  but  when  we  include  in  our  view  larger 
districts,  such  as  are  usually  cultivated  under  the  di- 
rection of  one  person,  the  case  becomes  altogether 
different ;  because  we  must  then  take  into  calculation 
the  increased  power  gained  by  increased  skill  in  the 
combination  and  succession  of  different  crops,  and  in 
the  modes  of  consuming  them,  and  making  them 
react  on  the  fertility  of  the  farms. 

It  has  already  been  stated,  that  in  the  course 
which  agriculture  has  ordinarily  followed,  from  rude- 
ness towards  perfection,  men  have  began  by  devoting 
a  considerable  portion  of  the  ground  to  pasture,  while 
another  has  been  kept  ploughed  for  grain  crops,  and 
rested  by  occasional  fallows,  or  leys,  as  the  exhausted 
fields  were  once  called  in  England,  when  abandoned 
to  their  natural  produce  for  a  time,  though  destined 
to  be  ploughed  up  again. 

Rents.  201 

Let  us   suppose   1000  acres  to  have  been  thus   boo*^  i- 
treated ;  that  the  demand  for  human  food  increases,    ^ll  g"' 

and  that  it  becomes  necessary  by  more  laborious  cul-    

tivation,  to  force  the  powers  of  the  soil.  ivmera  "'^ 

The  measures  this  has  ordinarily  led  to,  have  been  ^"^^• 
the  breaking  up  the  whole,  or  a  portion  of  the  pas- 
ture land,  covering  the  fallows  and  leys  with  roots, 
artificial  grasses,  and  various  green  crops ;  feeding 
an  increased  number  of  cattle,  with  the  produce  of 
ploughed  ground,  producing  thus  more  animal  ma- 
nure, keeping  the  powers  of  the  earth  in  more  con- 
stant and  vigorous  action,  and  obtaining  thus  from 
every  part  of  the  farm  a  more  abundant  produce. 

While  these  changes  are  in  progress,  much  more 
capital  and  labor  must  be  bestowed  upon  the  culti- 
vation of  1000  acres.  Now  how  does  the  fundamental 
proposition  in  the  theory  of  rent,  promulgated  by 
Messrs.  Ricardo,  Mill  and  Macculloch,  apply  to  the 
state  of  things  here  described  ? 

As  the  national  agriculture  thus  becomes  in  the 
progress  of  ages  more  complete  and  scientific,  may 
not  the  increased  labor  and  capital  used  be  requited 
at  least  as  amply  as  the  smaller  quantity  before  em- 
ployed, under  a  more  ignorant  or  indolent  system. 
Must  every  additional  10  bushels  of  corn  necessarily 
be  obtained  by  a  larger  comparative  outlay  ?  Is  there 
really  a  law  of  nature  which  makes  this  result  in- 
evitable? Surely  it  is  neither  impossible  nor  im- 
probable, that  the  earth,  under  an  improving  system 
of  husbandry,  may  disclose  powers  of  rewarding  as 
bountifully  the  skilful  and  efficient  industry  bestowed 
upon  her,  as  she  did  the  languid  and  ignorant  ope- 

Increase  of 

202  Rents. 

Book  I.  rations  of  a  less  laborious  cultivation.  There  is  an 
Sea.  2"  indefinite  point,  no  doubt,  beyond  which  agricultural 
production  cannot  be  forced  without  a  loss ;  but  we 
must  not,  therefore,  conclude,  that  man  with  increas- 
Rents.  jjjg  knowledge  and  means,  cannot  advance  from  his 
rudest  essays  towards  this  indefinite  point,  without 
sustaining  at  each  step  a  loss  of  productive  power, 
and  that  he  who  extracts  40  bushels  of  wheat  from 
an  acre  of  ground,  is  necessarily  worse  paid  than  he 
who  extracts  30 ;  and  he  who  extracts  30,  worse  than 
he  who  extracts  10.  The  stature  of  man  is  limited : 
there  is  a  point  beyond  which  we  know  that  it  would 
be  idle  to  expect  that  a  human  being  should  increase 
in  height,  without  decreasing  in  strength  and  energy. 
If  we  were  to  argue,  thence,  that  every  inch  added  to 
a  young  person's  stature  in  his  progress  to  matu- 
rity must  be  followed  by  increasing  debility,  we 
should  argue  very  ill:  but  not  worse  surely  than 
those,  who  having  observed  that  in  the  culture  of 
the  earth  there  is  a  point  beyond  which  fresh  labor 
bestowed  must  produce  feebler  results ;  lay  it  down 
as  a  law  of  nature,  that  no  additional  labor  can  at 
any  time  be  bestowed  upon  the  earth,  without  a 
return,  less  in  proportion,  than  that  yielded  to  the 
labor  before  applied. 

We  may  reject,  therefore,  as  fanciful,  the  doc- 
trine of  Mr.  Ricardo  and  his  school,  when  they 
would  teach  us,  that  "  with  every  increased  por- 
"  tion  of  capital  employed  upon  the  land  there 
"  will  be  a  decreased  rate  of  production."  And 
we  may  proceed  to  consider  those  positions  in  which 
they   maintain,   that    even    supposing    them   wrong 

Rents.  203 

in  this,   and  admitting  that   capital  may    continue    book  i. 
to  accumulate  with  undiminished  power  on  the  lands     ^'  g"' 

cultivated,  still  no  augmentation  of  rents  could  pos-     

sibly  proceed  from  such  a  cause.  Farmers"^ 

These  opinions  are  embodied  in  the  following  ^^"'^• 
passages  : — "  If  capital  could  be  indefinitely  employed 
"  without  a  diminished  return  on  the  old  land,  there 
*  could  be  no  rise  of  rent,  for  rent  invariahly  pro- 
"  ceeds  from  the  employment  of  an  additional  quan- 
"  tity  of  labor,  with  a  proportionally  less  return  \" 

The  truth  of  the  last  of  these  tv^o  propositions 
depends  evidently  upon  that  of  the  first,  of  which  we 
shall  presently  see  the  value.  Mr.  Ricardo  after- 
wards states  that  *'  Improvements  in  agriculture,  and 
"  in  the  division  of  labor  are  common  to  all  land, 
"  they  increase  the  absolute  quantity  of  raw  produce 
*'  obtained  from  each,  but  do  not  much  disturb  the 
*'  relative  proportions  which  before  existed  between 
"  them."  And  thence  he  argues  that  such  improve- 
ments will  not  raise  rents,  because  "  Nothing  can 
"  raise  rent,  but  a  demand  for  new  land  of  an  inferior 
"  quality,  or  some  cause  which  shall  occasion  an 
"  alteration  in  the  relative  fertility  of  the  land  al- 
"  ready  under  cultivation"."  To  try  the  soundness  of 
these  positions,  let  us  take  a  case  where  all  the  cir- 
cumstances of  which  they  affect  to  state  the  effects 
concur,  that  is, — Where  more  capital  is  employed 
upon  the  land  without  a  diminished  return,  and 
where  this  additional  capital,  increasing  the  absolute 
quantity  of  raw  produce  obtained  from  each  gradation 

*  Ricardo,  2nd  edit.  p.  55.  ^  Ibid.  2nd  edit.  pp.  518,  51.9. 

204  Rents. 

Book  I.   of  soil,  does  not  disturb  the  proportions  which  before 
g^^'  ^'  existed  between  their  produce.     Let  A  represent  a 

class  of  land  which  returns  only  the  ordinary  profits 

F^m '"^  of  stock  at  1 0  per  cent,  and  pays  no  rent.     Let  B, 
^^'s-        C  and  D  represent  other  portions  of  better  land,  also 
cultivated  with  a  capital  of  £100.,  and  let  their  pro- 
duce be  as  follows : 

A  B  a  D 

£110.     £115.     £120.     £130. 

All  above  £110  in  each,  will  be  surplus  profits,  or 
rent,  of  which  rent  B  will  pay  £5,,  C£lO.,  and 
D  £20.  Next  let  the  capital  employed  on  each  be 
doubled,  without  a  diminished  return,  and  without 
disturbing  the  proportion  between  the  produce  of 
each,  or  altering  their  relative  fertility,  their  produce 
will  be  as  follows : 

A  B  c  D 

£220.     £230.     £240.     £260. 

All  above  £220.  in  each  will  be  surplus  profit^  or 
rent,  of  which  B  will  pay  £lO.,  C  £20.,  and  Z)  £40. 

That  is,  the  rent  of  each  will  be  doubled. 

And  it  is  clear,  that  with  every  additional  portion 
of  capital,  laid  out  with  similar  effect,  rents  will  in- 
crease proportionably,  that  is,  will  double,  when  ca- 
pital is  doubled,  treble,  when  it  is  trebled,  quadruple, 
when  it  is  quadrupled,  and  so  on  indefinitely,  as  long 
as  capital  can  be  employed  upon  the  old  land  without 
a  diminished  return,  and  without  altering  the  relative 
fertility  of  the  soils  cultivated. 

It  is  sufficiently  evident,  that  abstracting  from 
all  other  causes  of  increase,  rents  do,  and  must  rise 
in  this  manner,  in  all  improving  countries,  as  more 

Rents.  205 

and  more  capital  is   invested  in  agriculture.     We    Bo^k  r. 
have  seen,  however,  that  it  is  not  essential  to  the      *^*''"* 

Sect.  2. 

xise   that    the   proportion   between   the   fertility   of 

the  soils  should  be  exactly  stationary \  FarmMs' 

From  his  general  train  of  reasoning,  one  would  ^^'^^^' 
be  tempted  to  believe,  that  Mr.  Ricardo,  in  deny- 
ing that  the  accumulation  of  capital  could  ever 
raise  rents,  without  some  decrease  in  its  productive 
powers,  had  wholly  overlooked  the  necessarily  un- 
equal effects  of  additional  capital  on  soils  of  unequal 
fertility :  and  had  assumed  in  his  own  mind,  that  the 
effect  produced  on  the  worst  soils  by  all  the  addi- 
tional capital  employed  on  agriculture,  would  equal 
the  effect  it  produced  on  the  best.  On  the  present 
occasion,  however,  he  committed  no  such  oversight, 
he  himself  has  added  the  supposition,  that  their  pro- 
duce should  be  proportionally/  increased,  and  his 
denial  of  the  necessary  effects  of  this  unequal  in- 
crease on  rents  is  therefore  the  more  unaccountable. 
Another  assertion  we  may  observe  is,  that  7iothing 
can  raise  rents  but  a  demand  for  new  land  of  an  in- 
ferior quality,  or  some  cause  which  shall  occasion  an 
alteration  in  the  relative  fertility  of  the  land  already 
cultivated.  This  opinion  is  certainly  not  less  erro- 
neous, than  that  which  decides  on  the  entire  ineffi- 
ciency of  an  indefinite  accumulation  of  capital,  in 
raising  rents,  but  it  is  more  easily  accounted  for. 
Mr.  Ricardo,  overlooking  altogether  the  peasant 
tenantry,  which  occupy  ninety-nine  hundredths  of 
the  globe,  had  persuaded  himself  that  the  existence 

>  See  p.  194. 

i>06  Remits. 

i^K  I.    of  a  gradation  of  soils  of  different  fertility  was  the 
Se«!  2'    ^"V  cause,  why   rents   ever  existed  at  all.     It  was 

not  unnatural,   therefore,   that  he    should   conclude, 

ISm'"^  that  an  alteration  in  their  relative  fertility  was 
^"'*-  the  sole  cause  of  every  variation  of  rents :  but  even 
admitting  for  a  moment  the  correctness  of  these 
premises,  this  conclusion  would  be  fallacious.  If 
we  suppose  the  existence  of  a  gradation  of  soils  to 
be  (what  it  most  certainly  is  not)  the  sole  cause  of 
the  payment  of  rents,  it  would  still  be  untrue,  that 
"  nothing  can  raise  rents  but  some  cause  which  shall 
"  occasion  an  alteration  in  the  relative  fertility  of  the 
"  lands  cultivated."  If  we  take  it  for  granted  with 
Mr.  Ricardo,  that  a  difference  in  the  natural  fertility 
of  soils  is  the  sole  origin  of  rent ;  still  it  is  the  ab- 
solute difference  of  their  products  which  must  always 
determine  the  amount  of  the  rents  paid  at  any  given 
time,  and  this  difference,  and  consequently  the 
amount  of  rents  may  be  increased  indefinitely,  while 
the  proportion  between  the  several  products  of  all 
the  soils  cultivated  to  equal  quantities  of  capital, 
that  is,  while  their  relative  fertility,  remains  unal- 

If  abstract  numbers,  bearing  a  certain  proportion 
to  each  other,  are  multiplied  by  the  same  number, 
we  know  that  though  the  proportion  borne  by  the 
products  to  each  other,  will  be  the  same  as  those  of 
the  original  numbers ;  yet  the  difference  between 
the  amounts  of  the  several  products,  will  increase 
at  each  step  of  the  process.  If  10,  15,  20,  be  mul- 
tiplied by  2  or  4,  and  become  20,  30,  40,  or  40,  60, 
80,  their  relative  proportions  will  not  be  disturbed  : 

Rents.  207 

80   and    60   bear   the   same   proportion   to    40,    as   Book  i. 
20  and   15  do  to   10:  but   the   differences  between    ^^l^^' 
the   amount   of  their  products  will   have   increased    

T  ^ 

at  each    operation,   and  from  being  5   and  10,   be-  yIxt^s:^ 
come  10  and  20,  and  then  20  and  40.  ^^"*^- 

So  if  soils  have  a  relative  fertility,  which  is  in- 
dicated  by  their  producing  to    a  capital  of  £l00, 
respectively  £110.,  £ll5.  and  £l30.,  and  then  the 
capital  employed  be  doubled,  and  the  produce  doubled, 
their  produce  will  become  £220.,  £230.  and  £260. ; 
and  the  diiference  between  the  amount  of  their  pro- 
ducts, or  their  rents  would  be  doubled,  though  their 
relative  fertility  remained  precisely  what  it  was.    Al- 
though, therefore,  the  difference  between  the  rela- 
tive fertility  of  soils  were  the  sole  cause  of  rents, 
it  would  not  follow,  that  nothing  could  raise  rents 
but  some  cause  which  altered  the  relative  fertility 
of  the  lands  cultivated,  since  any  cause  would  raise 
rents,   which   increased   the    amount   of  produce   of 
all,  while  it  left  their  relative  fertility  untouched; 
and  just  such  a  cause  would  be  that  indefinite  in- 
crease of  capital  on  the  old  soils,  without  a  dimi- 
nished return,  which  Mr.  Ricardo  so  stoutly  declares, 
would  make  it  impossible,  that  the  revenue  of  the 
landed  proprietors  could  ever  increase  at  alP. 

Upon  pushing  this  very  simple  arithmetical  cal- 
culation a  little  farther,  it  will  be  seen  yet  more 
clearly,  that  Mr.  Ricardo  was  utterly  mistaken  in 
supposing,  even  on  his  own  shewing,  that  an  in- 
creased  difference  in  the   relative   fertility   of  soils 

*  See  p.  206'. 

208  Rents. 

Book  I.   ^g^g  essential   to   a  rise   of  rents,  since   rents   may 
se"c^  2.'    clearly  rise>  even  while  the  difference  between  the 

relative  fertility   of  the   soils  is   diminishing;  pro- 

F^m'°  vided  the  absolute  quantity  of  produce  in  each  class 
^^^'  is  increasing.  If  £  100.  be  employed  on  classes  A, 
B  and  C,  with  a  produce  of  £llO.,  £ll5.  and 
£120.,  and  subsequently  £200.,  with  returns  of 
£200.,  £228.  and  £235.,  the  relative  differences 
of  the  products  will  have  diminished,  and  the  soils 
will  have  approximated  in  fertility;  still  the  differ- 
ence of  the  amoiuitfi  of  their  products  will  be  in- 
creased from  £5.  and  £lO.  to  £8.  and  £l5.,  and 
rents  will  have  risen  accordingly  \  Improvements, 
therefore,  which  tend  to  approximate  tlie  degrees 
of  fertility  of  the  cultivated  soils,  may  very  well 
raise  rents,  and  that  without  the  co-operation  of 
any  other  cause. 

This  process  goes  on  often  in  practice.  The  tur- 
nip and  sheep  husbandry,  and  tlie  fresh  capital  em- 
ployed to  carry  it  on,  produced  a  greater  alteration 
in  the  fertility  of  the  poor  soils,  than  in  that  of 
the  better;  still  it  increased  the  absolute  produce 
of  each,  and,  therefore  it  raised  rents,  while  it  dimi- 
nished the  differences  in  the  fertility  of  the  soils 

We  have  attempted  to  shew,  that  increasing 
produce  from  all  the  qualities  of  soil  in  a  coun- 
try, produced  by  the  application  of  more  capital  and 
labor,   will   necessarily   raise  rents  in    an    extensive 

^  For  a  similar  calculation,  see  p.  Ip*.  I  have  let  both 
stand,  it  is  important  that  they  should  be  understood. 

Rents.  209 

country   farmed    by    capitalists,    from   the    unequal   book  i. 
returns   to   that  capital  and   labor  on  lands  of  un-    sect!  2. 

equal  goodness: — that  rents  will  thus  be  raised  with-     

out  its  being  necessary  to  suppose  any  alteration  Farmers' 
in  the  relative  fertility  of  the  soils  cultivated,  any  ^^°^" 
resort  to  inferior  soils,  or  any  diminution  in  the 
produce  obtained  by  agricultural  labor  on  the  old 
soils:  and  that  there  is  no  foundation  whatever  for 
the  opinion,  that  in  every  stage  of  such  a  process, 
every  portion  of  additional  produce  successively  got 
from  the  same  lauds,  must  necessarily  be  obtained 
by  a  less  advantageous  expenditure  of  labor  and 

Mr.  Ricardo,  however,  is  not  only  of  opinion, 
as  we  have  seen,  that  increased  produce  so  obtained 
could  never  raise  rents,  but  he  asserts  that  it  would 
actually  lower  them,  at  least  for  a  time ;  that  is,  till 
the  only  cause  which  he  contends  can  ever  possibly 
raise  rents,  comes  into  play,  and  additional  capital 
is  laid  out  with  a  diminished  return^  either  upon 
fresh  lands,  or  upon  some  portion  of  the  old  land. 
The  way  in  which  he  defends  this  rather  startling 
opinion,  that  increasing  crops  will  be  the  cause  of 
decreasing  rents,  is  this :  he  assumes,  that  if  the 
produce  of  the  laud  be  increased  while  the  popu- 
lation is  standing  still,  and  the  demand  is  sta- 
tionary, some  of  the  land  will  be  thrown  out  of 
employment;  and  the  difference  between  the  fer- 
tility of  the  lands  actually  cultivated,  will  be  dimi- 
nished; a  circumstance  which  in  Mr.  Ricardo's 
system  is   invariably   stated,   as   we   have   seen,    to 




Book  1. 

Chap.  vii. 

Sect.  2. 

Increase  of 



lead  to  a  decrease  of  rents'.  "If"  he  says,  "a 
'  million  of  quarters  of  corn,  be  necessary  for  the 
'  support  of  a  given  population,  and  it  be  raised 
'  on  land  of  the  qualities  of  1,2,  3,  and  if  an  im- 
'  provement  be  afterwards  discovered,  by  which  it 
'  can  be  raised  on  No.  1  and  2,  without  employing 
'  No.  3,  it  is  evident  that  the  immediate  effect  must 
'  be  a  fall  of  rent:  for  No.  2,  instead  of  No.  3,  will 
'  then  be  cultivated  without  paying  any  rent :  and 
'  the  rent  of  No.  1,  instead  of  being  the  difference 
'between  the  produce  of  No.  3  and  No.  1,  will  be 
'  the  difference  only  betw^een  No.  2  and  No.  1. 
'  With  the  same  populatio?i  and  no  more  there  can 
'  be  no  demand  for  any  additional  quantity  of  corn  ; 
'  the  capital  and  labor  employed  on  No.  3  will  be 
*  devoted  to  the  production  of  other  commodities 
'  desirable  to  the  community,  and  can  have  no  effect 
'  in  raising  rent,  imless  the  raw  material  from  which 
'  they  are  made  cannot  be  obtained  without  employ- 
'  ing  capital  less  advantageously  on  the  land,  in 
'  which  case  No.  3  must  again  be  cultivated."  This 
passage  contains  the  substance  of  the  reasoning  on 
which  Mr.  Ricardo  founds  his  frequently  repeated 
assertion,  that  agricultural  improvements  are  always 
detrimental  to  the  landlords. 

Now  what  would  happen  wliilc  produce  was  for 
some  time  slowly  and  steadily  increasing,  while 
population  and  demand  continued  the  same,  and 
no  more,  we  need  not  trouble  ourselves  to  enquire. 

'  Passages  in  note  A. 

Rent  a.  211 

It  is  a  case,  which  it  will  he  admitted  on  all  hands    ^°°^  '• 

Ti     1  -\T    •    1  •         1  •         1  Chap.  vii. 

IS  never  likely  to   occur.     J\  either  is  this  the  case    sect.  2. 

put  by  Mr.  Ricardo;  he   supposes  a  sudden   spread    

of  improvement,  by  which,  as  by  the  stroke  of  a  Farmers' 
magic  wand,  two-thirds  of  the  land  of  a  country  are  '^""'" 
made  to  produce  as  much  as  the  whole  did  imme- 
diately before,  while  the  population  continues  the 
same,  and  no  more,  in  which  case  he  supposes  the 
cultivation  of  one-third  of  the  land  would  be  un- 
necessary, and  cease,  and  that  rents  would  fall  over 
the  whole  country. 

It  is  only  necessary  to  remember  the  slowly  pro- 
gressive manner  in  which  agricultural  improvements 
are  practically  discovered,  completed,  and  spread^ 
to  perceive  how  very  visionary  this  supposition  of 
Mr.  Ricardo's  really  is.  If  two-thirds  of  the  lands  of 
England  should  ever  produce  as  much  as  the  whole 
does  now,  (an  event  extremely  probable)  we  may  be 
quite  sure  that  it  will  be  by  no  sudden  and  magical 
stride  that  the  improvement  will  establish  itself: 
that  the  means  of  effecting  it  will  be  discovered  in 
small  portions  at  a  time,  perhaps  at  considerable  in- 
tervals, and  will  be  adopted  into  general  practice 
tardily,  and  we  may  almost  predict,  reluctantly  and 
suspiciously".  In  the  mean  time,  population  and 
the   demand   for   raw   produce  will   not   have   been 

^  The  practice  of  ploughing  light  lands  with  two  horses  and 
one  man,  and  the  alternate  and  convertible  husbandry,  the  great 
improvements  of  modern  times,  have  been  fully  known  for  more 
than  half  a  century.  If  they  spread  themselves  no  faster  than 
they  have  done  yet,  another  half  century  will  elap'-.e  before  they 
are  adopted  on  all  the  lands  fitted  for  them. 


212  Rents. 

^^  \-    standing  still.     In   tlic   process  by  which  increased 
Sect.  2.    supplies    of   food    are    produced    for   an    increasing 

population,    we   observe    no    such    wide    dislocations 

Farniere'°  bctwecn  thc  supply  and  demand,  no  such  sudden 
'^"'*'  starts  and  jerks  as  Mr.  Kicardo  is  driven  to  sup- 
pose, in  order  to  prove  that  all  improvements  in 
agriculture  are  unfavorable  to  thc  interests  of  thc 
landlords.  As  the  mass  of  the  people  slowly  in- 
crease, we  see  the  gradual  pressure  of  demand  sti- 
mulating the  agriculturists  to  improvements,  which 
by  an  imperceptible  progression  of  the  supply,  keep 
the  people  fed.  While  these  processes  are  going 
on,  every  increase  of  produce,  occasioned  by  thc 
general  application,  to  the  old  soils,  of  more  capital, 
acting  upon  them  with  unequal  effect,  according  to 
the  differences  of  their  original  fertility,  raises  rents ; 
and  the  interests  of  the  landlords  are  at  no  moment 
opposed  to  improvements,  which  while  they  increase 
the  mass  of  raw  produce,  are  as  favorable  to  the 
augmentation  of  the  revenues  of  the  owners  of  the 
soil,  as  they  are  essential  to  the  well  being  of  thc 

It  may  seem  hardly  necessary  to  state,  that  in- 
creased rents,  brought  about  in  the  manner  we  have 
now  been  describing,  constitute  a  portion  of  fresh 
wealth  created  by  the  industry  of  the  country,  and 
are  an  unquestionable  and  satisfactory  evidence  of 
the  general  increase  of  its  resources.  It  so  happens, 
however,  tliat  the  same  train  of  reasoning  which  has 
led  Mr.  Ricardo  and  his  school  to  deny  that  rents 
can  ever  rise  except  from  one  cause  (namely,  thc 
laying  out  capital  upon  some  portion  of  land  witli 

Rents.  213 

a  less   return,    and   the   consequent   diminution    of   Book  r. 
the  share  of  the  productive  classes  in  all  the  rest,)  ^^"p*  *"• 

has  led  them  to  maintain,  as  one  of  the  consequences    

of  this  doctrine,  that  a  rise  of  rent  is  in  all  cases  increase  of 


a  mere  transfer  of  wealth  already  existing,  never  Rents, 
a  creation  of  it ;  that  it  adds  nothing  to  the  resources 
of  a  country;  that  it  does  not  enable  it  to  maintain 
fleets  and  armies ;  that  it  is  a  mere  transfer  of  value 
advantageous  only  to  the  landlord,  and  proportion- 
ably  injurious  to  the  consumer.  Supposing  Mr.  Ri- 
cardo's  opinion,  as  to  the  one  exclusive  cause  of 
every  increase  of  rents,  to  be  correct,  then  this  doc- 
trine must  also  be  correct \  If  the  soils  A^  B^  C 
and  Z),  produce,  A  £\\0.,  B  ^115.,  C  d^lSO, 
D  £  130. ;  then  the  share  of  the  producing  classes 
in  each,  being  c£*110,  A  will  pay  no  rent;  and  the 
rents  o^  B,  C  and  D  will  be  £  5.,  £  10.,  and  £  20. 
respectively.  If  only  one  mode  of  raising  the  amount 
of  rents  paid  by  these  soils  existed,  namely,  the  re- 
duction of  the  share  of  the  producing  classes  from 

1  Ricardo,  2nd  Edit.  pp.  499,  500,  501.  "One  of  these 
"  errors  (he  is  speaking  of  some  supposed  errors  of  Mr.  Mai- 
"  thus,)  lies  in  supposing  rent  to  be  a  clear  gain  and  a  new 
"  creation  of  riches."  "  Rent  then  is  a  creation  of  value,  but 
"  not  a  creation  of  wealth ;  it  adds  nothing  to  the  resources 
"  of  a  country :  it  does  not  enable  it  to  maintain  fleets  and 
"  armies,"  &c.  &c.  The  reader  will  have  observed  already,  how 
utterly  fallacious  and  inapplicable  these  reasonings  and  opinions 
are,  if  we  turn  to  peasant  rents,  that  is,  to  the  large  body 
of  the  rents  actually  paid.  I  trust  they  will,  in  the  text,  be 
made  to  appear  equally  fallacious,  when  taken  as  exclusively 
applicable  to  the  surplus  profits  realized  on  the  land,  that  is, 
to  farmers'  rents. 

214  Rents. 

Book  I.    ^,^110.  to  some  Other  sum,  siiy  £  108.,  and  the  trans- 
i^ect!  2.    ^^^  of  the  difference  to  the  landlords ;  then  the  pro- 

duce  being  still  for  A  £\10.,  B  £U5.,  C  i;^120., 

Farmere'"  ^  ^£'130.,  but  the  share  of  the  producing  classes 
Rents.  being  reduced  to  X^  108.  in  each;  rents  would  rise 
to  the  extent  of  £  8.  on  tlie  whole.  A,  which  be- 
fore paid  no  rent,  would  pay  £  2.,  B  £1.,  C  £  12., 
D  £  22.  But  though  rents  had  risen,  the  resources 
of  the  country  would  remain  precisely  what  they 
were.  There  would  have  been  a  })artial  transfer  of 
wealth,  and  no  alteration  in  its  amount ;  that  transfer 
would  have  been  advantageous  certainly  to  the  land- 
lords, and  proportionably  injurious  to  the  producing 
classes ;  and  from  the  rise  in  the  relative  value  of  raw 
produce,  which,  for  reasons  we  need  not  state  now, 
would  accompany  the  change,  the  transfer  would, 
to  some  extent,  be  injurious  to  consumers  of  every 
class.  In  this  case,  we  have  supposed  the  produce 
in  consonance  with  ]Mr.  Ricardo's  views,  to  be  sta- 
tionary^; this  is  one  mode  unquestionably  in  which 
rents  may  rise  to  an  unlimited  extent;  but  it  is 
only  one,  certainly  the  least  common,  and  by  much 
the  least  efficient  jcause  of  the  increase  of  farmers' 
rents :  and  in  laying  down  general  principles  on 
the  subject  of  rent,  we  can  hardly  avoid  being  in- 
volved in  error  by  confining  ourselves  to  sucli  an 
imperfect  view  of  the  various  sources  of  its  increase, 
and  aiguing  on  an  assumption  so  contrary  to  obvious 

'  Ricardo,  3rd  Edit.  p.  485.  VVe  should  have,  he  says,  pre- 
cisely the  sanic  (jiiantity,  and  no  more,  of  commodities,  and 
the  same  millions  of  quarters  of  corn  as  bclbrc  (that  is,  before 
the  ri>c  dC  lents.) 

Rents.  215 

facts  and  every  day   experience  as  this,  that  while    B"ok  r. 
rents   are  rising,  tlie   amount   of  the   national  pro-    g^^^^*  ^* 

duce  is  always  stationary.  

The  effects  on  national  wealth  of  a  rise  of  rents  FarSJs'*'^ 
from  increased  production,  obtained  by  the  employ-  i^ents. 
ment  of  additional  capital,  are  of  a  widely  different 
complexion  from  those  exclusively  contemplated  by 
Mr.  Ricardo.  Let  us  again  suppose  A,  B,  C,  Z), 
to  produce  respectively  <i?110.,  .£'115.,  =£"120.,  and 
^130.,  in  a  country  in  which  the  art  of  agriculture 
is  backward  and  imperfect.  As  skill  and  wealth 
increase,  let  its  cultivation  become  more  and  more 
complete,  and  the  capital  employed  on  these  soils 
be  daubled;  and  let  them  yield  (prices  remaining 
the  same),  A  £  220.,  B  £  230.,  C  £  240.,  D  £  260. 
A  will  still  pay  no  rent,  but  there  will  have  been 
a  rise  of  rents  on  the  other  soils,  amounting  in  the 
whole  to  £  35.,  B  will  pay  £  10.,  C  £  20.,  B  £  40., 
and  these  new  rents  will  be  a  clear  addition  to  the 
national  resources,  founded  on  the  creation  of  fresh 
wealth  :  no  class  will  be  the  poorer,  nothing  will  have 
happened  which  is  injurious  to  any  one ;  there  will 
have  been  no  transfer  of  wealth ;  the  relative  value 
of  raw  produce  will  (for  any  thing  involved  in  this 
change)  have  remained  perfectly  stationary :  and  in 
proportion  to  this  addition  to  its  former  resources, 
will  the  country  abound  more  in  the  "necessaries, 
conveniences,  and  enjoyments  of  society,"  and  be 
better  able  "  to  maintain  fleets  and  armies,"  or  make 
any  other  financial  effort,  than  it  was.  The  in- 
creased rent,  however,  will  form  but  a  part,  and 
not   the    most    important    part,   of  the   augmented 

216  Rents. 

'Booa-i-    wealth   and    additional    resources,   which    the   same 
g^^*  2"*  multiplication    of   capital    that    created    the    rent, 

will  produce  and  place  in  other  hands  than  those 

Farmers'"  of  the  landlords.  In  the  case  we  have  put,  it 
^^^'  will  be  observed,  that  while  rents  have  doubled, 
agricultural  capital,  wages  and  profits,  have  doubled 
too.  The  land  of  the  community  produces  twice 
what  it  did,  and  its  territorial  resources  have  dou- 
bled, although  its  frontier  has  not  been  extended ; 
and  while  this  process  is  continued  and  repeated, 
which  in  the  progress  of  a  skilful  and  wealthy  people, 
it  may  be  more  than  once,  such  a  people  will  con- 
tinue to  multiply  in  numbers,  in  riches,  and  in 
political  strength,  compared  with  neighbouring  na- 
tions, among  whom  a  ruder  and  more  inefficient 
mode  of  culture  may  continue  to  prevail.  In- 
creased rents,  therefore,  originating  in  the  accumu- 
lation of  capital  on  the  land,  and  in  increased  pro- 
duction, are  not  only  themselves  a  clear  addition 
to  the  resources  of  a  country,  but  necessarily  in- 
dicate a  yet  greater  addition  in  the  hands  of  the 
producing  classes; — an  addition  which  is  substan- 
tially equivalent  to  the  progressive  enlargement  of 
the  territory  itself. 

There  is  one  sense  in  which  the  proposition,  that 
rent  is  no  addition  to  the  wealth  and  resources  of 
a  country,  is  a  truth,  though  a  very  insignificant 
truth :  when  it  is  merely  meant,  that  the  produce 
of  the  land  and  labor  of  a  country  being  deter- 
mined, the  appropriation  of  a  part  of  it  as  rent, 
makes  the  nation,  collectively,  no  richer  than  it 
was  before ;    this  certainly  is  a   truth,  or  rather   a 

Rents.  217 

puerile  truism.     The  produce  of  the  land  and  labor   ^ook  r. 
of  a  country  being  once  determined,  the  amount  of    ^^l  2"' 

i|s  collective  wealth  cannot  of  course  be  affected  by    

the  subsequent  appropriation  of  it;  whether  it  be  Farm?ra'° 
devoted  wholly  to  wages,  to  profits,  or  even  taxes,  ^^^' 
the  nation  collectively  is  as  rich  and  no  richer 
than  it  was.  But  when  it  is  asserted,  as  Mr.  Ri- 
cardo  obviously  means  to  assert,  that  in  the  pro- 
gress of  society,  increasing  rents  merely  indicate 
a  transfer  of  a  part  of  the  wealth  already  existing, 
and  never  form  any  real  addition  to  the  resources 
of  a  nation,  the  proposition  is  an  obvious  fallacy, 
founded  on  his  own  peculiarly  imperfect  view  of 
the  sources  in  which  successive  additions  to  the 
rents  of  a  country  originate. 

Different  Effects  of  Capital  employed  in  different 


So  far  we  have  traced  the  effects  on  rents  of 
the  accumulation  of  capital  generally :  that  is,  with- 
out distinguishing  between  the  effects  of  the  dif- 
ferent shapes  in  which  it  may  be  applied  to  the 
land  during  the  progress  of  its  increase:  and  so 
far  as  the  necessary  effect  of  such  an  accumula- 
tion on  rents  was  alone  in  question,  this  general 
view  was  sufficient. 

But  to  observe  more  distinctly  the  probable  pro- 
gress of  the  increase  of  capital  employed  in  agri- 
culture, and  the  ultimate  limit  to  it;  and  to  trace 
its  effects  on  the  interests  of  the  community,  on 
the  relative  numbers  and  weight  of  the  classes  which 

218  Rents. 

Book  1.    composc  it ;  and  on  the  nature  and  direction  of  their 
^t  o"    industry,  we  must  carefully  distinguish  between  the 

effects   of  increasing   capital   when   it  is   applied   to 

Capi't^"^  the  support  of  additional  labor,  and  when  it  is  ap- 
plied as  aiiociliary  to  the  industry  of  the  laborers 
already  employed,  witliout  any  increase  in  their 

I  am  aware  that  if  we  follow  Mr.  Ricardo,  and 
some  later  writers,  the  distinction  here  made  is  fan- 
ciful. According  to  them,  this  auxiliary  capital  is 
the  result  of  labor,  and,  tracing  it  sufficiently  far 
back,  of  labor  alone.  Its  employment,  therefore, 
may  be  considered  as  the  employment  of  the  labor 
which  was  used  to  produce  it:  and  whether  a  man 
works  for  ten  days  in  producing  a  plough  to  be 
employed  upon  the  soil,  or  works  ten  days  upon 
the  soil  itself,  he  does  virtually  the  same  thing; 
in  either  case  ten  days  labor  has  been  employed 
in  cultivation.  There  are  some  points  of  view,  per- 
haps, in  which  this  forced  identification  of  the  re- 
sults of  labor,  with  labor  itself,  may  not  be  inad- 
missible, and  may  even  be  found  convenient  for 
the  purposes  of  calculation.  Mr.  Ricardo,  and  the 
writers  who  have  followed  him,  universally  speak 
of  the  labor  which  a  commodity  has  cost,  as  the 
sole  foundation  and  measure  of  its  value  relatively 
to  all  other  commodities.  A  quantity  of  corn  pro- 
duced by  a  month's  labor  of  one  man,  and  a  plough 
produced  by  a  month's  labor  of  another  man,  would, 
according  to  them,  be  of  precisely  the  same  value. 
Hence  all  commodities  must  be  estimated  as  so 
mudi  accumulated  lalior.     "  Capital,  or  what  is  the 

Rents.  219 

same  thing,  labor,"  is  an  expression  of  Mr.  Ricardo's    Book  i. 
which  flows  naturally  enough  from  their  theory  of  ^^*P"  ^"" 

the  origin  and  measure  of  value.     This  theory  it  is    

not  necessary  for  our  present  purpose  to  examine.  Auxiliary 
I  beg,  however,  in  passing,  to  be  numbered  among 
those  who  believe  it  defective,  and  who  think  that 
in  comparing  the  exchangeable  value  of  different 
commodities,  other  circumstances  must  be  taken 
into  consideration,  besides  the  quantity  of  labor 
bestowed  directly  or  indirectly  upon  each.  But 
whether  such  a  theory  of  value  be  sound  or  un- 
sound, for  the  purposes  of  our  present  investiga- 
tion, it  will  be  necessary  to  think  and  speak  of 
labor,  and  of  the  results  of  labor  as  two  different 
things.  It  will  hardly  be  denied,  that  the  using 
an  implement  or  manure  to  produce  an  effect  in 
agriculture,  or  using  directly  on  the  land  the  labor 
which  the  implement  or  manure  may  have  cost, 
arc  substantially  distinct  and  different  operations ; 
that  they  may  lead  to  different  results,  and  each 
be  practicable  or  profitable  only  under  different  cir- 
cumstances. Now  it  is  some  of  the  effects  of  such 
differences  that  I  am  about  to  point  out,  because 
I  think  the  knowledge  of  them  will  lay  open  im- 
portant views  of  the  present  condition  and  possible 
progress  of  nations,  and  of  the  causes  of  those  changes 
which  take  place  gradually  in  the  relative  numbers 
and  influence  of  the  different  bodies  of  men  of  which 
they  are  composed. 

The  first  difference  vv^hich  we  will  remark,  between 
the  application  of  capital  to  agriculture  in  the  sup- 
port of  additional  laborers,  and  in  the  shape  of  im- 

220  Rmts. 

Book  I.   plemeiits,  manures,   drains,  or   any  thing   which   is 
Seo.  2"    ^^*^  result  of  past  labor  as  auxiliary  to  the  efforts 

of  the  laborers  actually  employed,  is  this,  that  in  the 

CapTtai!'^  first  case,  the  quantity  of  human  power,  compared 
with  the  capital  employed,  remains  unaltered ; — that 
in  the  second  case,  it  is  invariably  increased.  If 
a  capital  is  used  in  employing  three  men  on  the 
soil,  and  then  that  capital  is  doubled,  and  six  are 
employed,  the  power  employed  in  cultivation  is 
doubled,  but  it  is  not  more  than  doubled ;  we  have 
no  reason  for  assuming  that  the  labor  of  the  three 
men  last  employed,  will  be  more  efficient  than  that 
of  the  three  men  first  employed.  But  if  instead 
of  employing  the  second  capital  in  employing  three 
fresh  laborers,  means  are  found  of  applying  it  in 
some  of  the  shapes  of  auxiliary  capital  to  increase 
the  power  of  the  three  laborers  already  employed, 
we  may  then  safely  take  it  for  granted  that  the 
efficiency  of  the  human  labor  employed  directly 
and  indirectly  in  agriculture  has  been  increased, 
and  that  the  three  men  assisted  by  this  auxiliary 
capital,  will  have  powers  which  six  men  employing 
all  their  power  directly  to  the  soil,  would  not 
possess.  To  perceive  this  distinctly,  it  seems  to  be 
only  necessary  to  call  to  mind  what  must  be  the 
constant  motive  to  employ  human  labor  in  framing 
machinery  or  implements,  or  in  obtaining  auxiliary 
capital  of  any  kind,  in  preference  to  employing 
that  labor  directly  to  obtain  the  end  for  which 
the  auxiliary  capital  is  to  be  used ;  and  what  are 
the  usual  steps  by  which  the  agricultural  and  ma- 
nufacturing efforts  of  civilized  nations  gain  efficiency. 

Rents.  221 

or  travel  from   the  rudeness  and  feebleness  of  the   Book  i- 
industrious  efforts  of  the  savage,  to  the  power  and    g^*^^'  ^"' 

comparative  perfection  of  the  arts  of  civilized  man.      

Man,  in  his  attempts  to  obtain  or  fashion  to  his  crpTui"^ 
wants,  the  material  objects  of  his  desires,  differs 
from  the  lower  animals  principally  in  this,  that 
his  intellect  enables  him  to  contrive  the  means  of 
using  the  results  of  his  past  labor  to  push  the 
efficiency  of  his  actual  exertions  beyond  the  limits 
of  his  mere  animal  powers.  While  living  on  the 
game  of  the  forest,  the  hunter  devotes  a  portion  of 
his  time  to  forming  his  bow  and  arrows.  If  the 
weapons,  when  made,  enabled  him  to  secure  no  more 
game  than  he  could  have  acquired  by  his  unassisted 
exertions  in  th,e  time  spent  in  making  them,  we  may 
be  sure  the  acquisition  of  them  would  not  continue 
to  tempt  him.  The  husbandman  after  scratching 
the  ground  for  a  time  with  the  crooked  branch  of 
a  tree,  devised  at  last  an  artificially  constructed  iron 
plough  :  but  if  the  effects  on  the  soil  of  this  plough 
when  used,  were  no  greater  than  those  which  the 
labor  would  have  produced,  which  was  spent  in  con- 
structing the  plough,  had  that  labor  been  applied 
directly  to  the  land,  then  we  may  be  sure  that  the 
plough  would  not  have  been  made.  It  is  so  with 
all  the  helps  contrived  by  man  to  assist  his  labor 
from  the  feeblest  and  simplest  to  the  most  com- 
plicated and  powerful.  If  the  labor  employed  in 
constructing  a  steam  engine  could  be  applied  with 
the  same  effect  as  the  engine  itself  in  the  various 
arts  and  callings  of  life,  we  may  be  sure  that 
steam   engines   would  never  have  become  common. 

222  Rent  a. 

Book  I.   Whenever,    therefore,    we   sec   a   nation's   stock    of 
Sect  2"    wealth  accumulating  in  the  shape  of  auxiliary   ca- 

pital :  when,  instead  of  .using  their  capital   to  sup- 

cl^i\2i7  P^^^  fresh  laborers  in  any  art,  they  prefer  expend- 
ing an  equal  amount  of  capital  in  some  shape  in 
which  it  is  assistant  to  the  labor  already  employed 
in  that  art,  then  we  may  conclude  with  perfect 
certainty,  that  the  efficiency  of  human  industry  has 
increased  relatively  to  the  amount  of  capital  em- 

In  agriculture,  the  effects  of  auxiliary  capital 
in  strengthening  human  power,  are  less  obvious^ 
perhaps,  than  in  manufactures ;  but  certainly  not 
less  important.  If  we  observe  the  quantity  of  im- 
plements, of  live  and  dead  stock,  of  fences,  drains 
and  buildings  to  be  found  on  the  surface  of  1000 
acres  of  land  in  a  highly  cultivated  country,  and 
compare  them  with  the  wild  and  ill-occupied  dis- 
tricts of  rude  nations,  we  shall  see  that  even  in 
agriculture,  the  efforts  made  by  human  intellect, 
to  use  the  results  of  past  labor  in  strengthening 
the  actual  power  of  the  husbandman  to  develope 
the  resources  of  the  earth,  have  been  very  consider- 
able. The  different  extent  to  which  different  nations 
have  achieved  this,  forms  one  of  the  most  important 
distinctions  between  them.  As  man,  in  his  rudest 
state,  and  when  chiefly  employed  in  satisfying  his 
bare  physical  wants,  is  distinguished  from  the  brute 
creation  by  his  capacity  to  use  the  hoarded  results 
of  his  past  exertions  to  augment  his  command  over 
the  material  world ;  so  when  we  view  him  in  a  more 
advanced  state,  and  attempt  to  weigh  and  estimate 

Rents.  223 

the  causes  of  the   very   distinct   productive   powers   Book  i. 
of  different   communities,   perhaps   equally   enlight-    ^^^  g" 

ened,  we  shall  find   the  different   degrees   of  such     

power  attained  by  each  to  be  determined,  and  al-  capi'tLT^ 
most  measured,  by  the  different  extent  to  which 
they  have  carried  this  original  prerogative  of  the 
human  race.  The  necessaries  and  luxuries  of  life 
are  supplied,  in  all  countries  remarkable  for  their 
civilization,  by  the  assistance  of  a  certain  quantity 
of  auxiliary  capital.  But  in  the  amount  of  that 
capital  possessed  and  used  by  each,  there  is  a  wide 
difference.  In  this  respect,  England  stands  far 
ahead  of  the  whole  civilized  world,  and  not  less 
remarkably  in  her  agriculture  than  in  other  depart- 
ments of  her  industry.  It  appears  from  various 
returns  made  at  different  times  to  the  Board  of 
Agriculture,  that  the  whole  capital  agriculturally 
employed  in  England,  is  to  that  appliett  to  the 
support  of  laborers,  as  5  to  1 ;  that  is,  there  are 
four  times  as  much  auxiliary  capital  used,  as  there 
is  of  capital  applied  to  the  maintenance  of  the 
labor  used  directly  in  tillage.  In  France,  the  aux- 
iliary capital  used  does  not  amount  (as  appears  from 
Count  Chaptal's  book,)  to  more  than  twice  that 
applied  to  maintain  rustic  labor.  In  other  Eu- 
ropean countries,  the  quantity  is,  I  suspect,  very 
much  less. 

Bearing  in  mind  then,  that  at  every  step  in 
the  accumulation  of  auxiliary  capital  in  cultivation, 
a  difference  is  created  in  the  power  of  human  labor, 
which  does  not  occur  when  capital  increases  only 
in   the    shape    of  additional    maintenance    for  fresh 

224  Rents. 

Book  I.    workmcn  on  the  soil  itself;  we  may  proceed  to  the 
Chap.  VII.   gg^jomi   difference  between    the   effects  of   the    em- 

S6ct«  2* 

ployment  of  auxiliary  capital,  and  of  capital  applied 

Auxiliary    dircctly  to   the   support  of  additional  labor,  which 
Capital.       -g  ^jj-g .    ^^^^  when  a  given  quantity  of  additional 

capital  is  applied  in  the  shape  of  the  results  of  past 
labor,  to  assist  the  laborers  actually  employed,  a  less 
annual  return  will  suffice  to  make  the  employment  of 
such  capital  profitable,  and,  therefore,  permanently 
practicable,  than  if  the  same  quantity  of  fresh  capital 
were  expended  in  the  support  of  additional  laborers. 

Let  us  suppose  £100.  employed  upon  the  soil  in 
the  maintenance  of  three  men,  producing  their  own 
wages,  and  10  per  cent,  profit  on  them,  or  £110. 
Let  the  capital  employed  upon  this  soil  be  doubled. 
And  first  let  the  fresh  capital  support  three  addi- 
tional laborers.  In  that  case,  the  increased  produce 
must  consist  of  the  full  amount  of  their  wages,  and 
of  the  ordinary  rate  of  profit  on  them.  It  must  con- 
sist, therefore,  of  the  whole  £lOO,,  and  the  profit  on 
it ;  or  of  £110.  Next  let  the  same  additional  capital 
of  £l00.  be  applied  in  the  shape  of  implements, 
manures,  or  any  results  cf  past  labor,  while  the  num- 
ber of  actual  laborers  remains  the  same.  And  let 
this  auxiliary  capital  last  on  the  average  five  years : 
the  annual  return  to  repay  the  capitalist  must  now 
consist  of  £10.  his  profit,  and  of  £20.  the  annual 
wear  and  tear  of  his  capital:  or  £30.  will  be  the 
annual  return,  necessary  to  make  the  continuous 
employment  of  the  second  £lOO.  profitable,  instead 
of  £110.,  the  amount  necessary  when  direct  labor 
was  employed  by  it. 

Rents.  225 

It  will  be  obvious,  tbercfore,  tbat  tbe  accumu-  BookI. 
lation  of  auxiliary  capital  in  cultivation,  will  be  prac-  t^cct.  2. 
ticable  when  the  employment  of  the  same  amount  of 

capital  in  the  support  of  additional  labor  has  ceased  crplti?'^ 
to  be  so :  and  that  the  accumulation  of  such  capital 
in  cultivation  may  go  on  for  an  indefinite  period : 
— that  is,  it  may  go  on  as  long  as  human  contrivance 
can  use  it  to  urge  on  the  progress  of  human  power 
in  adding  to  the  fertility  of  the  soil,  or  what  is  the 
same  thing,  to  the  efficiency  of  the  laborers  em- 
ployed upon  it:  —  provided  only  that  the  additional 
produce  obtained  at  each  step  of  the  process  is  suf- 
ficient to  pay  the  ordinary  rate  of  profit  on  the 
fresh  auxiliary  capital  so  employed,  together  with 
the  wear  and  tear  of  that  capital. 

Step  by  step,  however,  as  the  mass  of  such  capital 
increases,  the  ingenuity  of  man  must  be  at  work  to 
devise  fresh  modes  of  using  it.  To  employ  additional 
labor  to  increase  the  produce  of  the  land,  all  that  is 
necessary  is  to  have  the  means  of  maintaining  it.  To 
employ  more  of  the  results  of  past  labor  in  assisting 
the  actual  tillers  of  the  earth  requires  constant  con- 
trivance and  increasing  skill. 

With  the  increase  of  the  mass  of  auxiliary  capital 
employed  in  agriculture  rents  will  rise,  from  the  un- 
equal effects  of  that  capital  on  soils  of  unequal  good- 
ness. But  the  rise  of  rents  from  the  employment  of 
any  given  quantity  of  auxiliary  capital,  will  be  less 
than  that  which  would  take  place  from  the  employ- 
ment of  an  equal  amount  of  capital  in  the  mainte- 
nance of  additional  labor.  The  additional  annual  pro- 
duce, we  have  seen,  will  be  less,  and  the  difference 


226  Rents. 

Book  I-  between  the  amount  of  the  produce  of  equal  capi- 
y^fg"    ^^^  ®^   ^®^^^  of  different  gradations  of  fertility  (on 

which    difference   rents   depend)    will   be   of  course 

Ca^pTuL^    large,   when   the  produce   is   large,   and  less,   when 

it  is  smaller.     For  instance,  let  A^  JB,   C  and  D 

produce  as  follows : 

A  B  €  D 

<£*110.     i?115.     i'120.     .^130. 

The  differences,  surplus  profits,  or  rents  on  S,  C  and 
D,  will  be  5  +  10  +  20,  or  together  ^35.  Let  an 
additional  i?100.  employed  in  the  maintenance  of 
additional  labor,  raise  their  produce  to 

A  B  c  D 

£220.     i?230.     ^240.     =^260. 

Rents  will  be  doubled.  The  addition  to  them  will 
amount  to  another  £35.  But  let  the  additional 
capital  of  i?100.  be  applied  in  the  results  of  past 
labor,  auxiliary  to  the  labor  already  employed;  and 
let  <£*30.  be  sufficient  to  pay  the  profits  of  that  ca- 
pital, and  replace  its  annual  wear  and  tear  on  A. 
If  JS,  C  and  D  yield  a  produce  to  the  new  capital 
fully  proportioned  to  their  original  superiority  over  A, 
still  their  produce  will  not  exceed  (suppose,) 

^140,  Jff  (115+32)  =  147,   C  (120 +  34)  =  154, 
Z)(130  +  36)  =  166. 

The  joint  rents  of  the  three  will  now  be  i^47.  instead 
of  .£'35.:  but  instead  of  rents  being  doubled,  and,  as 
in  the  last  instance,  the  addition  amounting  to  £35.^ 
it  will  amount  only  to  ^12.;  although,  in  the  mean 
time,  the  amount  of  profits  realized  by  the  farmers 

Rents.  227 

will  have  doubled,  as  in  the  former  case.  The  pro-  ^°^  \ 
gress  of  rents,  therefore,  though  steady  and  constant,  sect.  2. 
will  be  more  slow,  and  bear  a  less  proportion  to  the 

increased  capital  employed,  and  the  advance  of  the  capltaL^ 
incomes  of  the  capitalists,  when  the  additions  to  the 
agricultural  capital  of  the  country  are  made  in  the 
shape  of  auxiliary  capital,  than  when  those  additions 
are  made  in  the  shape  of  capital  employed  in  the 
support  of  additional  labor : — an  apparent  disadvan- 
tage to  the  landlords,  which  is  amply  compensated  to 
them  by  the  possibility  of  employing  progressively 
increasing  masses  of  such  auxiliary  capital  to  obtain 
fresh  produce,  when  the  maintaining  additional  labor 
on  the  soil  for  that  purpose  would  be  unprofitable 
and  impracticable.  We  are  to  bear  in  mind,  then, 
that  the  progress  of  auxiliary  capital  both  increases 
the  command  of  man  over  the  powers  of  the  soil, 
relatively  to  the  amount  of  labor  directly  or  in- 
directly employed  upon  it ;  and  diminishes  the  annual 
return  necessary  to  make  the  progressive  employment 
of  given  quantities  of  fresh  capital  profitable:  —  that 
it  presents  in  its  accumulation  a  source  of  addition 
to  the  mass  of  rents,  less  copious,  but  more  durable, 
and  longer  in  arriving  at  its  ultimate  limits,  than 
that  derived  from  the  direct  employment  of  more 

Effects  of  the  Accumulation  of  auxiliary    Capital 

in  Agriculture  on  the  relative  Numbers  and  In- 

jiuence  of  the  different  Classes  of  the  Community. 

The  accumulation  in  larger  and  larger  masses  of 
the  results  of  past  labor,  not  to  maintain  the  laboring 

V  2 

228  Rents. 

Book  I.    part  of  the  actual  population,  but  to  augment  the 
g^^'  ™*  efficiency  of  their  industry,  is  a  process  which  exer- 

cises  a  decisive  influence,  not  only  on  the  compara- 

ci**itab"^  tive  productive  power  of  different  nations,  but  on  the 
various  elements  of  their  social  and  political  com- 
position. And  in  this  point  of  view  there  are  two 
prominent  effects  of  this  mode  of  increasing  the  effi- 
ciency of  the  cultivation  which  must  be  noticed: 
First,  the  great  increase  of  the  relative  numbers  of 
the  non-agricultural  classes :  Secondly,  the  great  in- 
crease of  the  revenues  and  influence  (and  ordinarily 
of  the  numbers)  of  the  intermediate  classes,  or  the 
classes  existing  between  the  proprietors  and  laborers. 
These  changes  in  the  relative  numbers  of  the  dif- 
ferent parts  of  the  community,  exercise  a  consider- 
able influence  in  moulding  the  fortune  and  character 
of  nations.  The  effects  of  such  changes  we  shall 
have  to  trace  in  another  part  of  our  work;  it  is 
our  object  now  to  shew  the  manner  in  which  the 
changes  themselves  are  produced. 

The  Emj)loyment  of  auxiliary  Capital  augments  the 
relative  Numbers  of  the  non-agricultural  Classes. 

When  additional  produce  is  obtained  by  the  use 
of  a  proportional  quantity  of  additional  labor  alone, 
the  relative  numbers  of  the  agricultural  and  non-agri- 
cultural classes  remain  unaltered.  Let  us  suppose 
a  capital  of  one  million  of  money  maintaining  one 
million  of  agricultural  laborers :  the  profits  on  the 
million,  at  10  per  cent,  will  be  c£  100,000.,  and  we 
may  assume  the  rents  paid  to  be  as  much  more.    The 

Rents.  229 

numbers  of  the  non-agricultural  population  will  de-  ^°o*  '• 

pend   on   the   quantity   of  raw  produce   which   the  g^^  ^ 

laborers,    from    their    revenue    of  one   million,    the  

capitalists  and  landlords  from  their  revenues  ofcaplS^ 
£100,000  each,  can  spare  to  exchange  for  manu- 
factured articles  and  non-productive  labor  \  Let 
that  number  be  250,000  souls,  or  one-fourth  of 
the  agriculturists.  Let  us  suppose  the  agricultural 
capital  employed  in  such  a  country  doubled,  and 
the  agricultural  labor  doubled ;  that  instead  of  one 
million  of  laborers,  two  millions  are  employed,  and 
that  the  produce,  profits  and  rents  are  all  doubled 
too.  The  habits  of  the  people  remaining  the  same, 
the  quantity  of  raw  produce  applied  to  the  main- 
tenance of  non-agricultural  labor,  will  be  doubled 
also;  the  non-agriculturists  will  become  500,000, 
and  their  relative  number  compared  with  the  in- 
creased number  of  non-agriculturists  will  be  pre- 
cisely what  it  was.  Their  influence,  and  that  of 
the  produce  of  their  industry  on  the  habits  of  the 
mass  of  the  people, — the  relative  weight  of  their  em- 
ployers in  the  community, — will  also  be  precisely 
what  it  was,  and  no  more:  though  the  population 
of  the  country  will  have  doubled,  or  nearly  doubled. 

Let  us  next  suppose  the  agricultural  capital 
in  such  a  country  to  be  doubled,  but  the  additions 
to  be  used  not  as  food  to  maintain  more  laborers 
on  the  soil,  but  in  some  shape  auxiliary  to  the 
laborers   already   employed.     And   let  us  take   the 

^  Meaning  labor  not  productive  of  wealth,  as  we  have  de- 
fined wealth,  that  is,  material  wealth. 

230  Rents. 

Boojc  I.  average  duration   of  such    auxiliary   capital  at  five 

^'P-  f  •  years.    Then  profits  will  have  increased  from  100,000 

_1  to  200,000.     The  increase  of  rents  may  be  taken  at 

Auxiliary  50,000,  and  the  sum  necessary  to  replace  the  annual 

Capital.  '  '  -IP  -IT  1         • 

wear  and  tear  of  a  capital  oi  one  million  lasting 
five  years  will  be  £200,000.  Here  will  be  a  gross 
additional  sum  of  £350,000.  produced  originally  in 
the  shape  of  agricultural  produce  and  wholly  appli- 
cable to  the  maintenance  of  non-agricultural  labor; 
the  numbers  of  the  non-agricultural  laborers  will 
increase,  while  those  of  the  agriculturists  remain 
stationary,  and  this  increase  may  go  on  swelling 
and  repeating  itself,  till  the  non -agriculturists  equal 
or  exceed  the  agriculturists. 

This  has  taken  place  in  England,  where  the 
auxiliary  capital  employed  in  cultivation  is  greater 
than  in  any  other  part  of  the  world,  and  where 
the  non-agricultural  population  is  actually  to  the 
agricultural  as  2  to  1.  In  all  other  extensive 
countries,  the  agriculturists  form  the  majority.  In 
France  they  comprise  two-thirds  of  the  population  : 
in  most  other  countries  much  more. 

The  increase  of  auxiliary  capital  is  certainly  not 
the  only  circumstance  which  affects  the  proportionate 
numbers  of  the  two  great  classes  of  cultivators 
and  non-cultivators.  Any  cause  which  increases 
the  efficiency  of  the  actual  cultivators  may  do  so, 
but  the  increase  of  auxiliary  capital  is  the  only 
cause  which,  in  the  ordinary  progress  of  civilized 
nations,  we  are  sure  must  exercise  a  progressive  in- 
fiuence  in  this  respect. 

Rents.  231 

Book  I. 

2Vie  Increase  of  auxiliary  Capital  increases  the     chap.  vu. 
Revenue  of  the  intermediate  Classes.  ^^*^*-  ^• 

The  next  point  in  which  the  effects  of  the  em-  ciltaf.'^ 
ploy m en t  of  auxiliary  capital,  and  of  capital  con- 
sumed in  the  direct  maintenance  of  labor,  differ,  is 
this,  that  with  the  relative  increase  of  auxiliary  ca- 
pital, a  great  increase  ordinarily  takes  place  in  the 
relative  revenues  of  the  middling,  or,  to  use  a  more 
comprehensive  phrase,  of  the  intermediate  classes. 
This  effect  is  not  peculiar  to  the  increase  of  auxiliary 
capital  in  cultivation,  but  follows  its  accumulation  in 
all  the  branches  of  human  industry.  We  must  en- 
large on  this  elsewhere :  but  our  view  of  the  effects 
which  may  be  expected  to  accompany  a  rise  of  rents 
caused  by  the  general  accumulation  of  capital  on 
the  land,  would  be  incomplete  without  adverting 
to  it.  If  we  suppose  any  capital  (£lOO.  for  instance) 
employed  upon  the  soil,  wholly  in  paying  the  wages 
of  labor,  and  yielding  10  per  cent,  profit,  the  revenue 
of  the  farmer  will  evidently  be  cne-tenth  that  of 
the  laborers.  If  the  capital  be  doubled,  or  quadru- 
pled, and  the  number  of  laborers  be  doubled  or  qua- 
drupled too,  then  the  revenue  of  the  farmers  will 
continue  to  bear  the  same  proportion  to  that  of  the 
laborers.  But  if  the  number  of  laborers  remaining 
the  same,  the  amount  of  capital  is  doubled,  profits 
at  the  same  rate  become  .£'20.,  or  one-fifth  the  reve- 
nue of  the  laborers.  If  the  capital  be  quadrupled, 
profits  become  .£40.,  or  two-fifths  of  the  revenue 
of  the  laborers :  if  capital  be  increased  to  £500., 
profits  would  become  <£50.,  or  half  the  revenue  of 

232  Rents. 

^^  V    the  laborers.     And  the   wealth,  the  influence,  and 

Chap.  VII. 

Sect.  2.    probably   to  some  extent  the  numbers  of  the  capi- 
talists  in  the  community,  would  be  proportionably 

Auxiliary      .  •'  x       i  ^ 

CapitaL      increased. 

This  point,  at  least,  the  accumulation  of  auxiliary 
capital  in  cultivation  has  reached  in  England.  The 
whole  capital  employed,  is  to  that  advanced  in  wages 
at  least  as  5  :  1.  The  auxiliary  capital,  therefore, 
is  equal  to  at  least  four  times  the  capital  used  in 
the  maintenance  of  labor,  and  the  income  of  the 
capitalists  employed  in  agriculture  equal  to  at  least 
half  the  wages  paid  to  agricultural  laborers. 

I  have  supposed  in  the  calculations  hitherto 
made,  that  the  amount  of  labor  employed  in  cul- 
tivation has  been  stationary,  while  the  amount  of 
auxiliary  capital  has  been  accumulating.  This  is 
little  likely  ever  to  be  true  in  practice.  A  great 
increase  of  capital,  of  whatever  description,  used  in 
any  art,  usually  makes  the  employment  of  some 
additional  direct  labor  necessary.  This  circumstance, 
however,  will  not  prevent  the  steady  progress  of  the 
relative  increase  of  the  auxiliary  capital. 

The  two  last  noticed  results  of  the  increase  of 
auxiliary  capital  employed  in  agriculture,  namely, 
the  relative  increase  of  the  numbers  of  the  non-agri- 
cultural classes,  and  the  relative  increase  of  the  re- 
venues and  numbers  of  the  intermediate  classes,  are 
both  changes  of  considerable  importance  in  the  pro- 
gress of  society.  Supposing  two  nations  to  have 
made  in  other  respects  nearly  an  equal  progress  in 
arts  and  manufactures;  the  abundance  or  scantiness 
with  which  each  will  be  supplied  with  the  decencies 

Rents.  233 

and  artificial  comforts  of  life,  will  depend  entirely   ^^^"^  ]■ 
on  the  comparative  size  of  that  portion  of  each  com-    ^^^  ^ 
munity,  of  which  the  industry  is  directed  to  occu- 

pations distinct  from  agriculture :  and  in  every  nation  ^^^^^ 
too,  the  amount  of  the  fund  which  forms  the  revenue 
of  the  intermediate  classes,  or  of  the  classes  which 
in  various  gradations  separate  the  higher  from  the 
lower  orders,  is  a  circumstance  of  great  moment  to 
the  political  and  social  character  of  the  people. 

While  the  revenue  of  the  capitalists  equals  only 
one-tenth  that  of  the  laborers,  they  form  no  pro- 
minent portion  of  the  community,  and  indeed  must 
usually  be  laborers  or  peasants  themselves.  But  a 
mass  of  profits  equal  to,  or  exceeding  one-half  the 
wages  of  labor  (which  mass  exists  in  England)  na- 
turally converts  the  class  receiving  it  into  a  nume- 
rous and  varied  body.  Their  influence  in  a  com- 
munity in  which  they  are  the  direct  employers  of 
almost  all  the  laborers,  becomes  very  considerable: 
and  what  is  in  some  respects  of  more  importance, 
such  a  rich  and  numerous  body  of  capitalists, — as, 
descending  from  the  higher  ranks,  they  approach 
the  body  of  the  laborers  by  various  gradations  till 
they  almost  mingle  with  them — form  a  species  of 
moral  conductors,  by  which  the  habits  and  feelings 
of  the  upper  and  middling  classes  are  communicated 
downwards,  and  act  more  or  less  powerfully  upon 
those  of  the  very  lowest  ranks  of  the  community. 

The  relative  prevalence  of  artificial  comforts, 
consequent  on  the  existence  of  a  large  industrious 
non-agricultural  population ;  ranks  of  society  ap- 
proaching   and    blending    in    successive    orders,    so 

23  i  Rents. 

Book  I.   ^r^^   ^^q    higher   arc   linked   with   the   lower,   and 
Sect.  2     a  channel  of  communication  formed  through  which 

their   moral   influence    may,    to    a    certain    extent, 

CapitaT^  constantly  pass  to  their  inferiors ;  these  are  cir- 
cumstances, the  practical  effects  of  which  we  shall 
have  to  trace  in  another  portion  of  our  work,  when 
we  are  examining  the  ordinary  progress  of  the  num- 
bers of  nations.  They  will  be  found  to  have  an 
important  bearing  on  our  subject,  while  we  remark 
various  circumstances  successively  unfolding  them- 
selves in  the  progress  of  civilization,  which  tend 
to  moderate  the  disposition  of  a  people,  to  exert 
their  full  physical  powers  of  increasing  their  ag- 
gregate numbers,  and  help  to  subject  the  animal 
passions  of  man  to  the  partial  control  of  motives, 
aims  and  habits  peculiar  to  him.  as  a  rational 

We  will  conclude  here  our  examination  of  the 
first  source  enumerated  of  a  rise  of  farmers'  rents, 
namely,  the  progressive  accumulation  and  unequal 
effects  of  capital  on  all  gradations  of  soils. 

We  have  found,  that  such  an  accumulation  or- 
dinarily takes  place  in  the  progress  of  population 
and  wealth: 

That  the  rise  of  rents,  which  proceeds  from  this 
cause,  is  wholly  independent  of  the  cultivation  of 
inferior  soils,  and  of  the  expenditure  of  capital  on 
the  old  soils  with  a  diminished  return ;  and  that 
it  might  go  on  indefinitely,  though  neither  of  tliese 
circumstances  ever  occurred: 

That  the  additional  capital  may  be  employed  in 
maintaining  additional  agricultural  laborers;   or  in 

Retits.  235 

various  shapes  in  which  it  is  only  auxiliary  to  the   ^°°^  ^• 
laborers  already  employed :  g*^^'  ^* 

That  when   fresh  capital  is  used  in  agriculture    

in  the  latter  shape,  the  power  of  the  human  labor  ca^nhai!"^ 
applied  directly  or  indirectly  to  the  soil,  may  be 
assumed  to  be  increasing;  while  the  quantity  of 
additional  produce  necessary  to  make  the  employ- 
ment of  a  given  quantity  of  capital  profitable,  is 
decreasing : 

That  hence  the  accumulation  of  auxiliary  capital 
with  increasing  effect  on  the  land  may  go  on,  for 
an  indefinite  period,  after  the  employment  of  addi- 
tional capital,  without  a  diminished  return  in  main- 
taining more  agricultural  labor,  has  become  impos- 
sible : 

That  with  the  employment  of  greater  masses  of 
auxiliarly  capital,  the  relative  numbers  of  the  non- 
agricultural  classes  will  increase ;  and  also  the  reve- 
nue, the  influence,  and  ordinarily  the  number  and 
variety,  of  the  intermediate  classes,  which  connect 
the  higher  with  the  lower. 

We  have  seen,  that  the  general  increase  of  pro- 
duction which  follows  such  an  accumulation  of  capi- 
tal on  the  old  soil,  is  a  most  important  and  bene- 
ficial addition  to  the  territorial  resources  of  the  people 
among  whom  it  takes  place: — and  that  there  is 
practically  no  period  of  such  an  increase,  at  which 
the  interests  of  the  landed  proprietors  are  not  in 
strict  unison  with  those  of  the  population. 


On  the  second  Source  of  the  Increase  of  Farmers''  Rents, 
or  on  the  increasing  Efficiency  of  the  Capital  employed. 

Book  I.  In   the   progress   of  agriculture,   and   after   the 

Sert!  3"    establishment  of  farmers'  rents,  some  improvements 

may   be   expected   to   take    place   in   the   efficiency 

Efficient  of  the  Capital  employed  in  cultivation.  Both  the 
of  Capital,  gj^ju  ^jjjj  power  of  the  cultivating  class  increase. 
Their  skill,  because  much  thought  is  sedulously 
applied  to  the  subject  by  men  freed  from  the 
toilsome  and  absorbing  occupations  of  the  mere 
laborer,  and  not  distracted  like  the  landlords  by 
loftier  pursuits  and  more  enticing  occupations.  With 
the  increase  of  skill,  the  mere  manual  exertions 
of  the  laborer  and  the  most  ordinary  and  rudest 
implements  and  means  become  more  efficient,  be- 
cause better  directed  and  combined.  But  as  the 
agriculturists  increase  in  skill,  they  usually  increase 
also  in  the  power  which  they  can  apply  to  effect 
their  purposes.  The  increase  of  auxiliary  capital 
in  all  its  shapes  (one  invariable  effect  of  advancing 
wealth  and  knowledge)  has  a  constant  tendency, 
as  we  have  seen,  to  put  such  increased  power  into 
their  hands. 

Of  increased  skill  and  increased  power,  an  in- 
crease in  the  efficiency  of  the  capital  employed  in 
cultivation  is  a  necessary  consequence,  and  may  shew 
itself  by  two  effects. 

Rerds.  237 

1st.     I^ess  capital  may  be  necessary  to  produce  ^^  ^: 
a  given  quantity  of  produce  from  a  spot  of  ground.         se«.  3. 

2nd.     The  same  capital  may  produce  from  the    

same  spot  of  ground  a  larger  produce  than  it  be-  Efficiency 
fore  yielded.  The  last  of  these  improvements  or-  "  *^'' 
dinarily  includes  the  first.  When,  on  any  spot  of 
ground  i?100.  can  be  so  employed,  as  to  produce 
a  larger  return  than  the  same  amount  of  capital 
did  before,  then  some  smaller  quantity  of  capital 
will  usually  obtain  the  same  produce  which  .£'100. 
once  did.  But  the  first  improvement  mentioned, 
does  not  always  include  the  last;  for  means  are 
sometimes  discovered  of  getting  the  same  amount 
of  produce  cheaper,  when  no  means  have  been  hit 
on  of  increasing  it.  In  whichever  result,  however, 
the  increasing  efficiency  of  the  capital  employed 
shews  itself,  rents  will  rise,  and  unless  the  progress 
of  improvement  outstrips  the  progress  of  population, 
and  the  growth  of  produce  exceeds  the  growth  of 
demand,  (an  event  rarely  to  be  expected,)  this  rise 
of  rents,  from  the  increased  efficiency  of  the  capital 
employed,  will  be  permanent;  and  it  wiU  ordina- 
rily coincide,  as  we  shall  presently  see,  with  an 
extension  of  the  agricultural  wealth,  the  popula- 
tion, strength,  and  resources  of  the  country.  If 
£^0.  can  be  made  to  produce  what  d^lOO.  formerly 
produced  from  the  same  spot  of  ground,  say  .£'110., 
the  profits  realized  will  have  risen  from  10  per  cent, 
to  somewhat  more  than  20.  Of  these  profits,  some- 
what more  than  .£*10.  will  be  surplus  profits  or  rents. 
Again,  if  ^100.  formerly  produced  a  certain  quan- 
tity of  corn  which  sold  for  <£*110.,  and  can  now  be 

238  Rents. 

Book  I.    gQ  employed,  as  from  the  same  spot  to  produce  corn 
SeTt!  3"    which  at  the  same  prices  would  sell  for  ^C'  1 20 ;  ad- 

ditional  surplus  profits  will  be  made  on  that  land, 

EfS^  and  additional  rent  be  paid  for  it: — provided  that 
of  Capital.  ^^^  whole  improvement  is  not  discovered,  completed, 
and  generally  adopted,  so  rapidly,  as  to  make  the 
now  increasing  quantity  of  corn  outstrip  the  progress 
of  population  and  demand.  For  in  that  case,  prices 
might  fall,  and  rents  remain  stationary  or  recede. 
It  is  not  necessary  again  to  discuss  the  probability 
of  this  dislocation  between  the  demand  and  supply. 
The  rise  of  rents  which  would  follow  such  an  in- 
creased efficiency  as  we  have  been  assuming,  of  the 
capital  employed  in  agriculture,  would  clearly  be 
quite  independent  of  any  spread  of  tillage  to  in- 
ferior soils.  Such  a  rise  of  rents  might  take  place, 
and  go  on  increasing  with  the  increase  of  popula- 
tion indefinitely,  though  no  inferior  gradations  of 
soil  were  in  existence. 

There  is  a  clear  addition  to  the  national  resources 
when  rents  rise  from  the  increased  efficiency  of  agri- 
cultural capital.  But  this  addition,  (unlike  that 
which  accompanies  a  rise  of  rents  from  the  greater 
accumulation  of  capital  on  the  soil,)  is  usually  con- 
fined to,  or  measured  by,  the  increased  rents  them- 
selves. When  £  100.  produces  (prices  being  the 
same)  corn  worth  oC*120.,  instead  of  corn  worth 
j£*110.,  the  wealth  of  the  nation  is  increased  by 
ten  pounds  worth  of  corn,  and  no  more.  When 
<f  90.  will  produce  the  same  quantity  of  corn  which 
£\Q0.  did  produce,  the  nation  is  enriched  to  the 
same  amount  in  another  shape;  for  £\0.   may  be 

Rents.  239 

withdrawn    from    agriculture    without    its    produce    ^°^^  '• 
being  diminished,  and  the  nation  will  be  enriched    ^^^^  3"* 

by  being   put   in  possession   of  any   other   commo-    

dities  which  the  capital  of  ^PIO.  may  be  employed  Effidency 
to  produce.  The  increase  of  national  wealth  will,  °^  CapitaL 
in  either  case,  be  confined  to  the  amount  of  <£*10., 
the  same  sum  by  which  rents  rise.  Increased  rents, 
therefore,  from  the  increased  efficiency  of  capital, 
though  an  addition  to  the  national  wealth  and 
resources,  do  not  indicate  so  large  an  addition  to 
those  resources,  as  increased  rents  proceeding  from 
the  accumulation  of  capital  in  cultivation ;  for  an 
increase  from  this  last  source  is  accompanied,  as 
we  have  seen,  by  a  great  addition  to  the  means 
of  the  producing  classes,  which  must  be  added  to 
the  new  rents  before  we  can  estimate  the  whole 
addition  to  the  nation's  resources,  which  such  a 
rise  of  rents  indicates. 

So  far  increased  rents  from  a  better  use  of  the 
capital  employed  in  agriculture,  may  seem  to  come 
accompanied  by  less  extensive  additions  to  the  na- 
tional resources,  than  increased  rents  proceeding  from 
the  gradual  increase  in  the  amount  of  the  capital 
employed  in  cultivation.  But  there  are  some  results 
of  the  increasing  efficiency  of  agricultural  capital 
that  remain  to  be  noticed,  which  very  much  aug- 
ment the  effects  on  public  prosperity  of  a  pro- 
gressive rise  of  rents  from  this  source. 

It  has  already  been  shewn,  that  a  spread  of  til- 
lage to  inferior  soils  does  not  necessarily  accom- 
pany, or  follow,  a  rise  of  rents,  when  the  efficiency 
of  the  cultivator's  capital  increases;  that   such  an 

240  Rents. 

^^°°^  I-   extension   is  in  no  sense  either  the  cause  of  such 

Chap.  vii.  .  ,    ,  •  -r»  •^^        •         n  i 

Sect.  3.    a  rise  or   essential  to  it.     But   still,    in    tact,    the 

same  increased  productiveness  of  agricultural  capital, 

Effidem:y  ^hich  occasious  a  rise  of  rents  on  the  old  lands, 
of  Capital,  usually  luakes  it  possible  to  extend  tillage  to  lands 
of  inferior  natural  fertility,  with  as  ample  a  return 
as  that  obtained  from  the  old  soils  before  the  im- 
provement took  place.  When  the  turnip  husbandry 
was  first  adopted  by  the  Norfolk  farmers,  it  was 
found  to  increase  the  fertility  of  their  lands  so 
much,  that  farms,  which  before  yielded  a  very 
small  rent,  now  yielded  one  considerably  larger. 
But  another,  and  in  a  national  point  of  view,  a 
much  more  important  result  followed.  There  ex- 
isted in  England  large  tracts  of  light  sandy  soil, 
supposed  to  be  wholly  sterile,  on  wliich  this  new 
mode  of  husbandry  was  practicable,  and  when  the 
produce  of  kindred  soils,  of  somewhat  better  staple, 
yielded  much  more  than  the  ordinary  profits  of 
stock,  and  paid  considerable  rents,  it  became  pos- 
sible to  cultivate  some  of  the  more  barren  tracts 
without  a  loss.  They  were  rapidly  reclaimed  from 
the  waste,  and  the  agriculture  of  England  has  since 
been  gradually  spreading  itself  over  large  districts 
of  this  description,  which  before  yielded  little  or 
no  human  food,  and  contributed  nothing  to  in- 
crease that  mass  of  wages,  profits,  and  rents,  which 
compose  jointly  the  resources  of  the  country. 

Nor  is  this  the  only,  though  it  is  the  most 
obvious  manner,  in  which  an  increased  efficiency  of 
agricultural  capital  widens  the  agricultural  resources 
of  nations,  at  the  same  time  that  it   is   elevating 

Rents.  '        241 

rents.  Such  an  improvement  usually  leads  to  the  book  i. 
employment  of  a  greater  quantity  of  capital  over  g^^^"  ^* 
the  whole  cultivated  surface  of  the  country.  

If  the  capital,  which  before  yielded  the  ordinary  ^^^^ 
rate  of  profit,  say  10  per  cent.,  now  yields  .£'120.,  °f  Capital. 
and  pays  a  rent  of  ^10.,  the  farmer  will  often  find 
that  he  can  employ  another  portion  of  capital,  say 
.£'100.,  which  though  it  may  not  pay  so  much  as 
his  old  capital  now  does,  will  still  pay  on  some  soils 
barely  perhaps  .£'110.,  the  ordinary  profits  of  stock; 
on  others,  perhaps,  ^111.,  .f  112.,  and  ^^113.,  that 
is,   something   more   on   each   than    the   usual   rate 
of  profit,  though  not   so  much  as  the  old   capital 
has  been  made  to  yield  by  the  improved  efficiency 
of  its   application.     On  these   last  soils,  rents  will 
then  be  rising  from  two  causes ;  from  the  increased 
efficiency  of  the  old  capital,  and  from  the  unequal 
effects  on  soils  of  different  degrees  of  fertility,   of 
the   new    capital,    which   begins   to   accumulate   on 
them.     When   an    opportunity   offers  of  thus   gra- 
dually augmenting  the  capital  which  they  can  pro- 
fitably  employ   on   the   old   lands;   the   farmers   of 
a   prosperous  country  will  slov/ly  take  advantage  of 

For  reasons  hereafter  to  be  explained,  in  coun- 
tries where  capital  abounds,  the  owners  of  it  are 
always  impelled  by  self-interest  to  use  the  various 
additions  which  they  employ,  as  much  as  possible, 
in  the  shape  of  auxiliary  capital,  and  as  little  as 
they  can  help  in  the  shape  of  wages  of  labor.  The 
gradual  increase  of  the  relative  quantity  of  auxiliary 
capital  is,  therefore,  the  ordinary  effect  of  the  pro- 


242  Rents. 

^^^  \    gressive  increase  of  the  whole  mass  of  capital  em- 
Sect.  3.    ployed  in  agriculture.     This  is   naturally  followed, 

for   the   reasons    we   have   stated,  by   a   progressive 

Effidency  incrcasc  of  the  efficiency  of  human  industry ;  and 
of  Capital,  in  ti^ig  manner,  the  means  are  gradually  developed, 
of  contending  successfully  with  soils  of  a  low  de- 
gree of  native  fertility,  and  of  obtaining,  without 
a  diminution  of  agricultural  power,  the  supplies 
for  an  increasing  population.  As  the  cultivated 
territory  thus  widens,  large  quantities  of  capital 
accumulate  both  upon  the  old  soils  and  upon  the 
successive  additions  to  the  tilled  ground,  and  the 
resources  of  a  nation  to  maintain  a  numerous  po- 
pulation are  at  once  multiplied  and  extended. 

Although  then  the  immediate  addition  to  the 
national  wealth,  which  is  indicated  by  a  rise  of 
rents  from  the  increased  efficiency  of  the  capital 
employed,  is  limited  to  the  amount  of  the  increased 
rent  itself:  yet  the  spread  of  tillage  to  inferior 
soils,  and  the  increase  of  capital  on  the  old  soils, 
which  usually  follow  such  a  rise,  produce  an  ad- 
ditional extension  of  the  resources  of  a  people, 
which  is  of  very  great  importance  to  the  welfare 
and  strength  of  every  increasing  community. 

We  have  seen,  that  a  spread  of  tillage  to  in- 
ferior soils  is  by  no  means  essential  to  the  rise  of 
rents,  which  takes  place  when  agricultural  capital 
becomes  more  efficient.  But  the  establishment  of 
this  fact,  does  not  disclose  all  the  errors  of  those 
who  have  thought  and  taught  that  "  Rent  depends 
"  exclusively  on  the  extension  of  tillage :  that  it 
"  is  high  where  tillage  is  widely  extended  over  in- 

Rents.  243 

"  ferior  lands,  and  low  where  it  is  confined  to  the    ^°°^  ^• 
"superior  descriptions  only."^     Whenever  a  rise  of    yg^^^t  3"' 

rents   takes  place   from    the   increased   demand   for    

agricultural  produce,  the  spread  of  tillage  to  in-  ^ffid^ 
ferior  soils  presents  the  practical  limit  to  that  rise.  "^  Capital. 
It  is  clear,  that  if,  as  nopulation  increased,  all  fresh 
supplies  were  necessarily  extracted  from  the  old  soils 
alone,  there  would  be  no  assignable  limit  to  the 
increase  of  the  relative  value  of  raw  produce,  of  the 
surplus  profits  made  on  the  land,  or  of  rents.  But 
while  additional  quantities  of  produce  can  be  ob- 
tained from  inferior  gradations  of  soils,  the  price  of 
raw  produce  will  never  exceed  the  cost  of  procuring 
it  from  the  lowest  gradation  which  it  is  found  expe- 
dient to  cultivate :  and  if  from  the  increasing  eflS- 
ciency  of  agricultural  capital,  the  cost  of  getting 
produce  from  that  gradation  is  not  greater  than 
it  was  on  the  old  soils  before  the  improvement, 
the  price  of  raw  produce  will  not  rise  at  all.  The 
inferior  soils,  therefore,  though  their  culture  is  not 
essential  to  a  rise  of  rents,  present  always  a  boundary 
to  that  rise.  Their  existence  is  a  protection  to  the 
interests  of  the  consumers  without  interfering  with 
those  of  the  landed  proprietors.  They  prevent  com 
being  sold  at  a  monopoly  price,  and  cut  off  the  in- 
creased rents  which  such  a  price  creates;  without 
interfering  with  the  beneficial  increase  of  the  reve- 
nues of  the  landed  proprietors,  which  flows  either 
from  the  source  we  are  examining,  the  better  ap- 
plication of  capital,   or  from  that   we   have   before 

1  Macculioch,  p.  282. 


244  Rents. 

Book  I.   examined,    the    increased   quantity   of    capital    em- 
secrr.'    ployed  in  the  national  agriculture. 

Improvements,  therefore,  in  the  efficiency  of  the 

ES^cy    capital   employed  in  cultivation,  raise  rents,  by  in- 
of  Capital,    creasing  the   surplus   profits   realized   on   particular 
spots  of  land. 

They  invariably  produce  this  increase  of  surplus 
profits,  unless  they  augment  the  mass  of  raw  pro- 
duce so  rapidly  as  to  outstrip  the  progress  of  demand ; 
an  event  of  rare  occurrence. 

Such  improvements  in  the  efficiency  of  the  capi- 
tal employed,  do  usually  occur  in  the  progress  of 
agricultural  skill,  and  of  the  accumulation  of  greater 
masses  of  auxiliary  capital. 

A  rise  of  rents  from  this  cause,  is  generally  fol- 
lowed by  the  spread  of  tillage  to  inferior  soils,  with- 
out any  diminution  in  the  returns  to  agricultural 
capital  on  the  worst  spots  reclaimed. 

This  spread  of  tillage  must  not,  however,  be 
confounded  with  the  causes  of  the  rise  of  rents  on 
the  old  soils,  with  the  origin  of  which  rise  it  is 
wholly  unconnected,  while  it  serves  in  its  conse- 
quences to  moderate  and  limit  those  augmented 


On  the  third  Source  of  the  Increase  of  Farmers'  Rents^ 
Book  I.  namely.^  a  Decrease  in  the  Share  of  the  producing 

Se«  4  Classes,  the  Produce  remaining  the  same. 

Increase  of         A   RISE  iu   thc  relative  value  of  raw  produce, 
tua^"      (the   cost  of  producing  other   commodities   remain- 

Rents.  245 

ing   stationary)   from    whatever   cause  the  rise  pro-    ^<^*  ^; 
ceeds,  will  always  be  followed  by  a  decrease  of  the    g^ct.  4. 

share   of  the  producing  classes  in  the  products   of    

the   soil,   relatively   to  the  labor   and  capital   they-r"^^' 
employ ;   and  by  a  corresponding   rise   in  the  pro-  ^""" 
duce  rents  of  the  landlords. 

Let  £100.  be  laid  out  on  A,  a  soil  paying  no 
rent,  and  yielding  only  the  ordinary  profits  of  stock ; 
and  let  the  produce  be  50  quarters  of  com  selling 
at  £2.  4*.  per  quarter,  or  £110.  If  the  relative 
value  of  corn  rises,  and  the  price  is  raised  2*.  a 
quarter,  the  £100.  laid  out  on  A  will  produce 
£115.,  of  which  £5.  will  be  surplus  profits.  The 
fanners'  profits,  at  his  next  contract  with  his  land- 
lord, will  be  reduced  to  the  level  of  those  of  his 
neighbours.  This  can  only  be  done  by  his  retain- 
ing so  much  only  of  the  produce  of  his  land,  as 
at  the  advanced  prices  vnll  pay  him  £110.;  the 
landlord  will  take  the  remainder,  or  the  price  of 
the  remainder,  and  it  will  become  rent.  A,  which 
before  paid  no  rent,  will  now  pay  a  rent  of  £5., 
and  in  like  manner,  upon  all  the  superior  soils 
which  before  paid  rent,  there  vdll  be  a  rise,  from  the 
decrease  of  the  share  of  the  producing  classes  in 
their  produce,  the  produce  itself  remaining  sta- 

So  far,  the  decrease  of  the  share  of  the  produc- 
ing classes,  and  the  corresponding  rise  of  rents,  have 
been  wholly  unconnected  with  the  cultivation,  or 
even  the  existence,  of  inferior  soils.  The  rise  of 
raw  produce,  proceeds  always,  in  the  first  instance, 
from  an   increasing   demand  without  a  correspond- 

246  Rents. 

^^^  ^;.    ing  increase   of  the  supply.     If  a  country   had  no 
Sect.  4.    soil   to   resort   to   besides   those  already   cultivated, 

the  demand   might  keep   constantly   ahead   of  the 

Increase  of     ■•        i        •  .  i  j     .i  •^^ 

Farmers'     slowly  increasing  supply,  and  the  possible  increase 
Rents.        -jj  ^|jg  relative  value  of  raw  produce,  and  the  con- 
sequent rise  of  rents,  would  be  indefinite. 

But  when  inferior  gradations  of  soil  exist,  and 
can  be  resorted  to,  the  rise  in  the  exchangeable 
value  of  raw  produce  is  limited.  It  will  stop  when 
the  price  of  com  is  sufficient  to  replace,  with  the 
ordinary  rate  of  profit,  the  expence  of  cultivating 
as  much  of  those  inferior  soils  as  will  yield  the  pro- 
duce necessary  to  restore  the  balance  between  the 
demand  and  supply.  This  state  of  things  is  what 
usually  exists  in  extensive  countries  possessing  soils 
of  various  degrees  of  goodness,  and  it  is  that  which 
we  shall  more  particularly  examine  while  tracing 
the  effects  of  a  rise  of  rents  from  a  decrease  of  the 
share  of  the  producing  classes  in  the  products  of 
the  soil.  But  we  must  not,  therefore,  lose  sight 
of  the  fact,  that  the  rise  of  rents  which  takes  place 
from  the  cause  we  are  now  tracing,  is  antecedent 
to,  and  independent  of,  the  spread  of  tillage  to 
inferior  soils,  and  must  take  place  to  a  much 
greater  extent  than  we  ever  now  see  it,  were  there 
no  inferior  soils  in  existence. 

The  Increase  of  pioduce  Rents  is  measured  by 
the  decreasing  Fertility  of  Soils. 

Where,  in  consequence  of  an  increasing  demand 
for  raw  produce,  cultivation  is  spreading  to  inferior 

Rents.  -  247 

soils,  if  the  return  from  those  soils,  in  spite  of  the   Book  i. 
increasing  skill  and  augmented  power  of  the  agri-  ^^^p-^- 

culturists,  be  still  less   than   the   return   from    the    

old  soils  before  was,  the  permanent  rise  of  produce  i^"^crease  of 
rents  from  this  cause  will  be  measured  by  the  dif-  R«nts. 
ference   between  the  return   to   a  certain   quantity 
of  capitaL  and  labor  from  the  new  soils,   and   the 
return  to  the  same  quantity   of  capital  and  labor 
from  the  worst  of  the  old  soils. 

If  on  Af  a  quality  of  soil,  paying  no  rent, 
a  certain  quantity  of  labor  and  capital  produces 
55  quarters  of  corn,  and  on  -B  a  soil  worse  than 
A,  the  same  quantity  of  labor  and  capital  can 
produce  only  53  quarters,  then  when  the  demand 
for  corn,  and  the  rise  in  its  relative  value  becomes 
such  that  B  can  be  cultivated,  and  pay  the  ordi- 
nary profits  of  stock,  A  will  pay  a  rent  of  two 
quarters  of  corn:  for  B,  which  produces  53  quar- 
ters, returning  the  ordinary  profits  of  stock,  A^ 
which  produces  55  quarters,  must  return  the  ordi- 
nary profits  of  stock,  and  also  two  quarters  of  corn ; 
which  two  quarters,  or  the  price  of  them,  will  be- 
come surplus  profits  or  rent. 

It  will  be  obvious  that  the  rise  of  rents  in 
this  case,  forms  no  addition  to  the  resources  of  a 
country.  The  increased  rents  of  the  old  soils  are 
a  mere  transfer  of  a  portion  of  the  wealth  already 
existing  from  the  producing  classes  to  the  landlords : 
the  nation,  collectively,  is  neither  richer  nor  poorer 
than  it  was;  there  has  only  been  a  change,  and 
by  no  means  a  desirable  change,  in  the  distribu- 
tion of  wealth  wliich  it  already  possessed.     In  this 

248  Rents. 

Book  I.    rcspect,   as   in   many   others,  a   rise   of  rents   from 
^^Sea  4'    *^^^  cause  contrasts,  much  to  its  disadvantage,  with 

a  rise  from  the  two  causes  of  which  we  first  analyzed 

jS^'°^  the  operation. 

Rents.  But  the  apprcheusious  which  have  been  enter- 

tained, as  to  a  necessary  falling  off  in  the  returns 
to  capital  and  labor  generally,  which  it  has  been 
supposed  must  always  follow  a  diminution  in  the 
returns  to  agricultural  industry  on  the  worst  soils 
cultivated,  are  happily  extravagant  and  groundless. 
Such  a  diminution  in  the  power  of  agricultural 
industry,  though  a  possible  event,  takes  place  in 
the  progress  of  a  wealthy  people  very  rarely. 
I  doubt  if  it  ever  takes  place  at  all;  and  when 
it  does  takes  place,  we  must  not  hastily  conclude 
that  because  the  quantity  of  corn  remaining  in 
the  hands  of  the  producing  agricultural  classes  is 
diminished,  there  must  therefore  be  a  fall  either 
in  profits  or  wages,  or  that  such  producing  classes 
would  have  the  means  of  consuming  either  less  corn, 
or  less  of  any  other  commodity,  than  they  did  be- 
fore the  reduction  of  their  share  in  the  produce 
of  the  soil.  For  these  conclusions,  which  look  at 
first  very  like  truths,  are  in  fact  fallacious,  as  a 
short  examination  will  shew  us. 

The  decreasing  Fertility  of  Soils  may  he  balanced 
hy  the  increased  Efficiency  of  manufacturing 

Human  industry  is  not  wholly  employed  in  pro- 
ducing  raw   produce:  and   its   increasing   efficiency 

Rents.  249 

in  other  departments  may  balance,  and  more  than  Book  i. 
balance,  the  decreasing  powers  of  agriculture:  may  ^^uT.' 
enable  the  society  to  spare  the   additional  propor- 


tion  of  men  and  capital  required  to  produce  an  Efficiency 
imdiminished  quantity  of  food  for  increasing  num-  J^JJ^g" 
bers,  and  that  without  lessening  the  mass  of  wealth  Lab««^- 
enjoyed  by  any  class  of  men.  This  will  appear 
more  clearly  from  an  example  or  two  to  which 
I  solicit  the  reader's  attention,  as  containing  the 
proof  of  a  fact  very  important  to  be  understood,  in 
examining  the  possible  progress  of  human  society, 
after  population  has  become  dense,  and  capital  and 
the  arts  have  made  great  progress.  Let  us  first 
take  the  simplest  case  which  involves  the  principle 
we  wish  to  explain,  and  let  us  suppose  ten  ship- 
wrecked mariners  cast  on  some  uninhabited  shore, 
and  dividing  between  them  the  task  of  providing 
their  common  food,  clothing,  and  shelter.  During 
the  first  year,  let  the  exertions  of  five  men  be  suf- 
ficient to  supply  their  table,  and  the  exertions  of 
the  other  five  their  food,  raiment,  &c.  In  the  next 
year,  food  may  have  become  more  scarce,  and  the 
time  of  eight  of  the  men  may  be  occupied  in  pro- 
curing it.  But  in  the  mean  time,  the  skill  of  the 
artisan  division  may  have  so  improved,  that  two 
men  may  be  able  to  secure  to  the  whole  party  the 
same  quantity  of  clothing,  shelter,  &c.  that  before 
engrossed  the  industry  of  five.  In  this  case,  four- 
fifths  of  the  laboring  hands  will  be  occupied  in 
procuring  food,  instead  of  one-half  as  before.  Still 
the  consumption  of  articles  of  every  description  will 
remain  the  same  throughout  the  little  community. 

250  Rents. 

Book  I.  We  may  put  the  case  yet  stronger.     If  one  man 

^*P*  ^"*  became  able  to  supply  the  clothing,  &c.  they  might 

spare  nine  to  go  in  quest  of  food,  and   might   ac- 

increased  tuallv  consume  morc  food,   and  as  much  of  every 

Efficiency  ■'  iim/»i  -i 

ofManu.    thing  clsc,  as  they  did  while  food  was  more  easily 

facturing  . 

Labor.       procured. 

Let  us  next  observe,  what  effects  would  be  pro- 
duced by  a  similar  change  in  the  productive  powers 
of  different  classes  of  the  community,  if  such  change 
occurred  among  a  people  whose  social  relations  were 
less  simple  than  those  of  the  knot  of  men  we  have 
been  figuring  to  ourselves,  and  let  us  suppose  a 
community  consisting  of  24  men,  employed,  one- 
half  in  producing  corn,  and  one-half  in  producing 
cloth.  Let  com,  for  our  present  purpose,  represent 
all  the  varieties  of  raw  produce,  and  cloth  all  com- 
modities produced  by  the  national  industry  which 
are  distinct  from  raw  produce. 

Let  the  corn-growers  produce  14  quarters  of 
com,  and  the  cloth-makers  14  pieces  of  cloth,  of 
each  of  which  let  12  go  to  wages  and  2  to  profits. 
Then,  if  each  party  exchange  half  their  produce 
with  the  other  division,  every  laborer  in  each  will 
have  half  a  quarter  of  corn,  and  half  a  piece  of 
cloth;  and  their  two  employers  will  have  a  piece 
of  cloth  and  a  quarter  of  com  each. 

Next,  let  us  suppose  this  laboring  population 
doubled:  that  there  are  48  laborers  instead  of  24, 
and  that  to  produce  double  the  quantity  of  com, 
it  has  become  necessary,  from  the  decreasing  fer- 
tility of  the  fresh  soils  resorted  to,  to  employ  in 
agriculture,  not  double  the  number  of  men  formerly 

Rents.  251 

employed,  but  more  than  double ;  say   three  times   Book  i 

Chap,  vi 
Sect.  4. 

the  number,  or  36  men.     Then,  by  the  supposition,      *^* "'' 

36  men  produce  double  the  quantity  of  corn  before 
produced,  or  28  quarters.     In  the  mean  while,  let  ^^^j^ 
the  productive  powers  of  the  cloth-workers  have  so  ^^  ^^*?'"- 

•"■  *■  facturing 

increased,  that  to  produce  double  the  former  quan-  Labor. 
tity  of  cloth,  the  labor  of  double  the  number  of 
men  is  not  necessary,  but  of  a  less  number,  say 
of  12:  then  by  the  supposition,  12  men  will  pro- 
duce double  the  former  quantity  of  cloth,  or  28 
pieces.  But  as  36  men  produce  28  quarters  of 
com,  while  12  men  produce  28  pieces  of  cloth,  each 
quarter  of  corn  will  exchange  for  three  pieces  of 
cloth'.  Between  the  48  men,  there  will  be  to  be 
divided  28  quarters  of  corn,  and  28  pieces  of  cloth, 
which  will  give  them  their  old  wages  of  half  a  quar- 
ter of  corn,  and  half  a  piece  of  cloth  each,  and  will 
also  leave  four  quarters  of  corn  and.  four  pieces  of 
cloth  as  profits.  But  the  capitalist  cloth-worker, 
employing  only  one-fourth  of  the  men,  will  take 
only  one-fourth  of  the  profit,  or  one  piece  of  cloth 
and  one  quarter  of  corn.  The  corn-grower,  employ- 
ing three-fourths  of  the  men,  will  take  three-fourths 
of  the  profit,  or  three  quarters  of  com  and  three 
pieces  of  cloth.  As  the  rate  of  wages  remains  pre- 
cisely what  it  was,  so  will  the  rate  of  profits :  for 
each  employer  of  12  men,  at  the  old  wages,  will 

^  It  would  complicate  the  calculation,  if  we  were  to  take 
in  here  any  elements  of  exchangeable  value  besides  the  mere 
labor  employed :  and  to  demonstrate  the  truth  we  are  travelling 
to,  that  complicated  calculation  is  not  necessary. 

252  Rents. 

Book  I,   still  get  One  piece  of  cloth  and  one  quarter  of  corn 

g^'^*  ^"'  as  the  profit  on  his  advances. 

If  the  power  of  the  manufacturer   of  cloth,  in- 

Effid^cy  stead  of  doubling,  had  more  than  doubled  during 
ofManu-    this  proccss,  then  it  is  evident  that  the  producing: 

factunng  *  _  i  O 

Labor.  classcs  generally  might  consume  not  merely  as  much 
com,  but  more  than  as  much  corn  as  they  did 
before  recourse  was  had  to  soils  of  a  less  fertility ; 
for,  instead  of  employing  36  men,  they  might  have 
employed  a  greater  number  in  cultivation,  have 
produced  and  consumed  more  corn,  yet  get  the  same 
quantity  of  cloth  which  they  did  before.  The  agri- 
culturists will  receive,  in  the  first  instance,  from 
the  soil,  less  com,  in  proportion  to  their  numbers, 
than  they  did  before  the  increase  of  population 
and  the  spread  of  tillage;  but  as  by  the  sacrifice 
of  a  smaller  portion  of  that  com,  they  can  obtain 
the  same  amount  of  other  necessaries  which  they 
may  need,  they  will  retain  as  much  or  more  com 
for  their  own  consumption,  as  they  did  when  they 
drew  larger  returns  from  the  ground.  Each  manu- 
facturer or  mechanic  will  give  in  exchange  for  the 
com  which  he  consumes,  a  larger  quantity  of  his 
own  produce  than  he  did  before  the  spread  of 
tillage ;  but  as  he  produces  more  than  he  did,  he 
will  be  able  to  purchase  the  same  amount  of  corn 
without  consuming  less  of  other  necessaries.  The 
effects  of  the  failure  in  productive  power  of  one 
branch  of  the  population,  will  be  balanced,  perhaps 
more  than  balanced,  by  the  increased  productive 
power  of  another  branch.  Those  who  produce  less, 
will  find  their  commodities  rising  in  exchangeable 

Rents.  253 

value ;  those  who  produce  more  will  find  them  falling,    book  i. 
These  variations  in   relative   value,  will   distribute    ^1^2 

equally  all  the  advantages  and  disadvantages  of  the    

variations  which  take  place  in  the  productive  power  Ef^iency 
of  different  branches  of  industry.     A  falling  off  in  "fj^"^' 
any   one   branch,    may   still  leave    the   nation    col-  ^^o'- 
lectively,  and   each  particular   class   of  it,   as   well 
supplied   even  with  that  species  of  produce  as  be- 
fore the  decrease,  and  the  only  effect  of  a  decrease 
in  one   quarter,  and   increase   in    another,   will  be 
a  difference  in  the  proportionate  number  of  laborers 
and  quantity  of  capital  employed  in  diflPerent  occu- 

We  have  seen,  that  as  the  process  we  have  been 
describing  became  complete,  and  corn  rose  in  ex- 
changeable value,  a  rent  would  be  generated  which 
did  not  exist  before.  This  increased  rent,  how- 
ever, unlike  those  which  we  have  before  been  con- 
sidering, will  be  obviously  no  addition  to  the  re- 
sources of  the  country.  It  will  be  a  mere  transfer 
of  wealth  already  existing,  from  the  producing 
classes  to  the  landlords.  The  nation,  it  is  true, 
will  be  richer  relatively  to  its  numbers  than  it 
was  before  the  spread  of  tillage:  few:  the  producing 
classes,  we  have  seen,  will  have  the  same  quantity 
of  raw  produce  and  other  necessaries  which  they 
had;  and  there  will  be  further  in  the  hands  of  the 
landlords  a  certain  portion  of  the  produce  of  the 
old  lands  as  rent.  But  this  additional  wealth  will 
have  proceeded,  not  certainly  from  the  decreasing 
powers  of  agriculture,  but  from  the  increased  effi- 
ciency of  manufacturing  industry,  which  has  enabled 

254  Rents. 

Book  I.   the  nation  to  spare  without  a  loss,  the  hands  neces- 
^S  4"   '^^'y  ^^  cultivate  soils   of  diminished  fertility,  and 

rather  more  than  balanced  the   effects   of  the   de- 

Effiek?/  creased  powers  of  agricultural  industry.  The  nation, 
ofManu-  collcctively,  would  no  doubt  have  been  richer  had 
Labor.  no  rcut  been  generated,  if  the  land  last  employed 
in  tillage  had  yielded  returns  equal  to  those  of  the 
lands  before  cultivatedj  and  if  the  advantages  of  in- 
creased manufacturing  power  had  been  gained  with- 
out any  diminution  in  the  returns  to  agricultural 
industry.  When  rents  are  incteasing  from  the  two 
sources,  of  which  we  before  examined  the  operation, 
namely,  the  accumulation  of  additional  capital  in 
agriculture,  and  the  increased  efficiency  of  capital 
already  employed,  then  the  result  is  an  unmixed 
advantage.  Agriculture  is  itself  adding  largely  to 
the  resources  of  the  country,  and  the  increasing 
wealth  which  flows  from  the  augmented  powers  of 
manufacturing  industry  is  balanced  by  no  drawback. 
It  must  be  distinctly  admitted  on  the  other  hand, 
that  a  rise  of  rents  from  the  particular  cause  we 
are  now  examining,  is  no  real  addition  to  the  re- 
sources of  a  nation.  The  decreasing  efficiency  of 
agricultural  capital  must  always  be  a  disadvantage, 
but  it  is  consolatory  to  reflect,  that  such  a  decrease, 
while  it  checks  the  possible  advance  of  a  nation  in 
wealth,  is  not  necessarily  followed  by  any  actual 
impoverishment:  that  neither  the  rate  of  wages,  or 
rate  of  profits,  are  determined  solely  by  the  returns 
to  the  capital  employed  upon  the  soil,  and  that  they 
may  remain  undiminished,  and  may  even  steadily 
increase  while  the  fertility  of  the  soil  is  as  steadily 

Rents.  255 

diminishing.     The  career  of  tlie  human  race  would   book  l 
indeed  have  heen  melancholy,  had  the  laws  of  nature    g^^^^'  ^"* 

been  such,  that  as  the  numbers  of  nations  increased,    

additional  food  must  necessarily  have  been  procured  Efficient 
by  the  sacrifice  of  additional  labor ;  a  sacrifice  in-  °}  ^i^:""- 

...  fi  .  lacturmg 

volving  in  its  consequences  a  fall  in  the  rate  of  Labor, 
wages  or  profits,  which  no  increase  of  intelligence, 
skill,  and  power,  in  the  other  branches  of  human 
industry  could  make  amends  for.  But  the  supposed 
necessity  of  the  sacrifice  of  additional  labor  to  pro- 
cure greater  supplies,  and  the  supposed  effects  of 
that  sacrifice  should  it  take  effect,  are  each  of  them 
unfounded  suppositions.  The  facts,  happily,  are  all 
imaginary,  on  which  the  assumption  rests,  of  an 
iron  necessity  dogging  thus  the  progress  of  man- 
kind, and  depriving  them  ever  of  some  portion  of 
necessaries  and  comforts  as  their  numbers  expand. 
Should  the  produce  of  agriculture  begin  to  lessen, 
the  increased  means  and  skill  of  civilized  commu- 
nities, we  have  seen,  may  enable  them  to  spare  the 
additional  hands  necessary  to  force  the  flagging 
powers  of  the  earth,  without  leaving  any  class  of 
the  community  worse  supplied  with  wealth  in  any 
of  its  shapes. 


Book  I. 
071  the  Fallaciousness  of  some  supposed  Indications  of  ^^^'  "^^ 
the  decreasing  Efficiency  of  agricultural  Labor.  ' 

We  hope  to  have  shewn  satisfactorily,  first,  that  Dec^^  of 
there   is   no  ground  for   supposing   that   additional  Sency'?' 

256  Rents. 

Book  I.  supplics  of  food  for  ail  increasing  population,  must 

^&^  5"  "^c^ssarily   be   got   at   the   expencc  of  more  labor. 

And,  secondly,  should  they  be  got  at  the  expence 

Supposed  Qf  more  labor,   that   it  by   no   means  follows  that 

Decrease  of  '  •' 

agricultural  the  producing  classes  must  necessarily  submit  to 
consume  less  either  of  food,  or  of  any  thing  else. 
Still  it  has  been  admitted,  that  at  some  period  in 
the  existence  of  nations,  there  may  be  a  rise  of 
rents  caused  by  a  decrease  in  the  returns  to  agri- 
cultural capital,  and  the  opinions  which  have  lately 
been  prevalent,  make  it  important  to  destroy  every 
temptation  to  ascribe  hastily  to  this  unpopular  cause, 
those  successive  additions  to  the  revenues  of  the 
landed  body,  which  other  causes  almost  necessarily 
occasion  during  the  prosperous  career  of  nations : 
causes,  the  continual  action  of  which,  we  have  al- 
ready observed  to  be  in  perfect  harmony,  and  indeed 
closely  connected  with  the  progress  of  a  people  in 
wealth,  and  resources,  and  agricultural  power,  and 
skill.  We  must  entreat  then  the  further  patience 
of  the  reader,  while  we  shew  that  some  indications 
which  have  been  supposed  to  prove  in  the  most 
unquestionable  manner  some  actual  decrease  in  the 
powers  of  agriculture,  will  turn  out,  on  examina- 
tion, to  afford  no  such  proof  at  all. 

The  circumstances  usually  referred  to,  with  the 
most  confidence,  as  indicating  a  decrease  in  the 
productive  powers  of  agriculture,  arc  first,  a  fall 
in  the  rate  of  profits;  secondly,  a  rise  in  the  rela- 
tive value  of  raw  produce,  compared  with  other 
domestic  commodities ;  thirdly,  a  rise  in  the  prices 
x)f  raw   produce,    compared   with  the   actual   prices 

Rents.  257 

in   neiehbourinor   countries   of  similar   soil  and  cli-    ^oo^^i* 
mate,  or  compared  with  former  prices  at  home,  pro-    sect.  5. 

vided,  in  the  last  case,  the  rise  be  greater  than  can    

be  accounted  for  by  any  fall  which  may  have  taken  itecrea^of 
place  in  the  value  of  the  precious  metals.  Emlkncy^^ 

A  fall  of  Profits  is  no  Proof  of  the  decreasing 
Efficiency  of  agricultural  Industry. 

A  decrease  in  the  share  of  one  of  the  producing 
classes,  that  is,  a  fall  in  the  rate  either  of  wages 
or  of  profits,  is  never  necessarily  the  result  of  the 
diminished  productive  power  of  human  industry  in 
any  of  its  branches- 

If,  when  profits  fall  from  12  to  10  per  cent, 
wages  experience  a  corresponding  rise,  there  can 
have  been  no  decrease  of  productive  power.  As 
wages  always  engross  the  largest  part  of  the  pro- 
duce, a  moderate  and  almost  insensible  change  in 
wages  will  bring  about  marked  and  considerable 
variations  in  the  rate  of  profits  quite  independently 
of  any  alterations  in  the  efficiency  of  agricultural 
or  other  industry.  Let  us  suppose  £lOO.  to  be 
employed  in  paying  wages,  returning  £ll2.,  or 
a  profit  of  12  per  cent.  If  wages  rise  from  £lOO. 
to  £102.,  that  is,  2  per  cent,  only,  then  (the  pro- 
ductive power  of  labor  being  stationary,)  profits  must 
fall  from  £  12.  on  £  100.  advanced,  to  £lO.  on  £l02. 
advanced:  or  from  12  per  cent,  to  something  under 
10  per  cent. :  there  will  have  been  a  rise  of  one- 
fiftieth  in  wages,   and  a  resulting  fall  of  one-sixth 


258  Rejits. 

Book  I.   in    piofits.     And    on    the    supposition    here    made. 
Chap.  vii.  ^1^^^  ^ij   ^^^  advances  of  the   capitalist  are  in  the 

hect.  5.  _  '■ 

shape  of  wages,   it  is  clear  that  a  rise  of  12   per 

Decn;°^4'^of  ccnt.    in    wagcs    would    not    merely    diminish    the 
a^cuiturai  profits  of  the  calpitalist,  but  absorb  them  entirely. 
In  practice,  however,  a  moderate  rise  of  wages 
will  not  affect  profits  so  seriously  as  in  the  instance 
here  assumed,  because  all  capital  is  not   employed 
in  paying  wages,  and  the  effects  of  fluctuations  in 
the  rate   of  wages  are  not  confined  to  the  profits 
on   the   wages   themselves,   but   are   spread   over   a 
larger  body  of  profits,  and  are  thus  attenuated.     If 
we   suppose   £500.  to   be  employed  in   production, 
and  of  that  sum  only  £100.  to  be  advanced  as  the 
wages  of  labor;  the  profits  of  £500.  at  12  per  cent, 
will  be   £60.     If  the  rate   of  profits   in   this   case 
is  to  be  reduced  by  a  rise  of  wages  to  10  per  cent., 
that  is,  to  a  sum  of  £50.,  the  rise  of  wages  must 
be   more  considerable  than   in  the   instance   before 
assumed.     The   sum    advanced  by   the  capitalist  is 
£500.:    the   whole   produce   is   £560.     Let   wages 
rise  10  per  cent,  and  become  £llO. ;  the  advance  of 
the  capitalist  will  then  be  £510.,  and,  prices  being 
stationary,  his    profit   £50.,   which    will   be    10  per 
cent,  within  a  small  fraction.     Supposing,  therefore, 
the    whole    capital    employed   to   be    equal   to   five 
times   the    sum   paid   in    wages    (which   is   perhaps 
nearly   the  true   proportion  in  England,),  a  rise  of 
10   per   cent,   in    wages,    that    is,    an    addition    of 
only   \s.  to  every  \0s.  before  advanced  to  the  la- 
borer, will   lower   profits  from   12  per  cent,  to  10 
per  cent.,  and  such  a  moderate  rise  of  wages  might 

Rents.  259 

produce,  in  fact,  nearly  all  the  difference  observable   book  i. 
in  the  rates  of  profit  current  in  the  different  states    g^j^J  5, 

of  Europe  \  

In  these  calculations,  we  have  supposed  the  pro-  DeS^V 
ductive  power  of  the  national  industry  stationary.  E^^gjJn"''^ 
Were  it  ever  really  so,  the  influence  on  the  rate 
of  profit  of  fluctuations  in  the  amount  of  wages, 
would  strike  all  practical  observers  more  forcibly 
than  it  now  does;  but  in  truth,  the  productive 
power  of  the  national  industry  is  rarely,  or  per- 
haps never,  stationary ;  and  while  that  power  is  vary- 
ing, the  results  of  its  changes  must  often  balance 
to  a  certain  extent,  and  therefore  disguise,  the  in- 
fluence of  alterations  in  the  rate  of  wages  on  profits. 
Thus,  if  we  suppose,  as  before,  £lOO.  expended 
wholly  in  wages,  and  paying  12  per  cent,  profit, 
the  produce  will  be  £ll2.  But  if  the  productive 
power  of  industry  be  so  increased  that,  prices  re- 
maining the  same,  the  return  becomes  £l34.  8*., 
then  wages  may  rise  to  £l20.,  and  profits  will 
not  vary  at  all ;  they  will  still  be  12  per  cent. ;  while 
wages  have  increased  one-fifth,  and  the  only  change 
will  be  an  addition  to  the  mass  of  capital  devoted 
to  the  advance  of  wages.  While  the  productive 
powers  of  labor  are  varying,  therefore,  we  may  ex- 
pect that  the  influence  of  fluctuations  in  the  amount 

^  It  will  be  shewn  hereafter,  that  in  a  country  replete 
with  capital,  as  England  is,  it  is  always  highly  probable  that 
the  rate  of  wages  will  be  sufficiently  ahead  of  that  rate  in  poorer 
countries,  to  produce  a  slight  inferiority  in  the  rate  of  profits  in 
the  richer  country ;  though  its  productive  power  be  the  greatest 
and   in  a  state  of  rapid  increase. 

R  2 

260  Rents. 

Book  I.  of  wages  on  the  rate  of  profits  may  often  escape 
^s^Ts"    notice.     It  appears,  however,  that  marked  and  con- 

siderable  variations   in   the   rate  of  profits  may  be 

iKea^of  results  of  changes  in  the  rate  of  wages  alone.  It 
agricultural  foUows,  that  a  fall  of  profits  is  no  sure  indication 

Efficiency.  ...  . 

of  diminished  productive  power  in  any  branch  of 
human  industry,  and  consequently  can  never  be  ac- 
cepted as  a  proof  of  the  decreasing  efficiency  of 
agriculture  especially. 

These  propositions,  with  respect  to  the  influence 
of  variations  in  real  wages  on  the  rate  of  profits, 
appear  to  me,  I  confess,  almost  too  obvious  to  be 
formally  stated,  had  they  not  been  formally  denied, 
and  very  extensive  consequences  founded  on  the 
denial.  Mr.  Ricardo,  and  others  who  have  followed 
in  his  track,  have  believed  that  they  could  trace 
every  possible  variation  in  the  rate  of  profits,  to 
a  decrease  in  the  productive  power  of  agriculture 
alone.  To  establish  the  truth  of  this  opinion,  they 
were  bound  to  shew,  that  no  other  cause  could  affect 
the  rate  of  profits,  and  of  course  that  variations 
in  the  rate  of  wages  could  not.  Their  mode  of 
doing  this  was  sufficiently  simple.  It  consisted  in 
denying  (while  treating  on  profits,)  that  any  such 
thing  as  a  permanent  change  in  the  rate  of  real 
wages  could  ever  take  place. 

It  would  at  first  sight  appear,  that  profits  de- 
pend partly  on  the  amount  of  the  produce  of  labor, 
partly  on  the  division  of  that  produce  between  the 
laborers  and  capitalists;  and  that  their  amount, 
therefore,  might  vary  from  a  change  in  either  of 
these  particulars.     If  certain  laborers,  whose  wages 

Rents.  261 

amount  to  £100.,  or  100  quarters  of  corn,  produce    Book  i, 

Chap,  vi 

o6Ct.  9» 

£112.,   or   112   quarters  of  corn,   profits  would   be      *?•"'• 

12  per  cent.;  but  they  would  sink  to  10,  if  wages    

rose  to  £  102.  or  quarters,  just  as  certainly  as  they  oeS^of 
would  if  the  productive   power  of  the  laborers  di-  Ki^'"™^ 
minished,  and,  wages  remaining  stationary,  they  only 
produced  £110.  or  quarters. 

But  if  it  could  be  proved  that  the  laborers  share 
was,  in  truth,  invariable,  that  with  the  exception 
of  short  intervals  of  time,  they  must  continue  to 
receive  £lOO.  or  quarters,  and  neither  more  nor  less, 
it  would  follow,  of  course,  that  all  permanent  vari- 
ations in  the  rate  of  profits  must  proceed  from 
changes  in  the  productive  power  of  industry  alone. 
We  have  already  remarked,  that  a  diminution  of 
profits  rarely  proceeds  from  a  diminution  in  the 
productiveness  of  non-agricultural  industry,  which 
may  raise  the  rate  of  profits,  or  sustain  them  when 
they  are  falling  from  other  causes,  but  can  seldom 
occasion  their  retrogression.  Were  it  once  admitted 
then,  that  profits  never  fall  from  variations  in  wages, 
it  would  follow  that  they  must  usually  fall  from 
a  decrease  of  the  productiveness  of  agricultural  in- 
dustry. The  theory  of  the  permanent  immutabi- 
lity of  real  wages,  or  of  the  constant  sameness  of 
the  quantity  of  necessaries  consumed  by  the  laborers 
on  which  rests  this  belief  of  the  exclusive  agency 
of  the  decreasing  powers  of  agricultural  labor  in 
diminishing  profits  \   hardly  requires   a   set   discus- 

'  "  We  have  seen,  in  treating  on  wages,  that  they  invariably 
"  rise  with  the  rise  in  the  price  of  raw  produce.  It  may  be 
"  taken    for   granted,   that    inider    ordinary    circumstances,    no 


262  Ile7its. 

Book  I.   giQn  to  refutc  it.     It  is  never  adhered  to  by  IVIr.  Ri- 
Sect.  5.    cardo  himself,  except  when  treating  the  particular 

subject  of  variations  in  the  rate  of  profit.     At  other 

Decre^eof  timcs  he  spcaks,  without  hesitation,  of  permanent 
Scknc"^'  alterations  in  the  condition  and  habits  of  the .  la- 
borer, of  variations  in  the  rate  of  natural  and  real 
wages.  But  when  attempting  to  simplify  his  ana- 
lysis of  the  circumstances  which  influence  the  rate 
of  profits,  and  to  reject  the  agency  of  all  but  his 
favorite  cause,  namely,  the  return  to  the  capital 
last  employed  upon  the  soil,  he  goes  back  to  this 
position,  equally  inconsistent  with  facts  and  with 
his  own  arguments  and  admissions ;  and  asserts, 
again  and  again,  that  permanent  changes  in  the 
rate  of  real  wages  never  take  place,  and  need  never, 
therefore,  be  taken  into  account  in  estimating  the 
causes  of  the  rate  of  profits. 

His  defence  of  this  assertion,  when  it  is  at- 
tempted to  be  defended,  rests  on  an  exaggeration 
of  some  facts  connected  with  the  subject  of  popu- 

Fluctuations  in  the  rate  of  real  wages,  do,  under 
certain  circumstances,  and  to  a  certain  extent,  impel 
or  retard  the  increase  of  the  numbers  of  the  laboring 
population,    and   by   altering   their   relation   to   the 

"  permanent  rise  takes  place  in  the  price  of  necessaries  without 
"  occasioning  or  having  been  preceded  by  a  rise  in  wages. 
"  Thus  we  again  arrive  at  the  same  conclusion,  which  we 
"  have  before  attempted  to  establish,  that  in  all  countries  and 
"  all  times,  profits  depend  on  the  quantity  of  labor  requisite 
"  to  provide  necessaries  for  the  laborers  on  that  land,  or  with 
"that  capital  which  yields  no  rent."     Ricardo,  pp.  118,  128. 

Rents.  263 

funds  from  which  they  are  supported,  react  on  the   ^°°^  f; 
rate  of  wages.    From  this  undouhted  fact,  many  have    5^^^.  5.' 

been  misled,  partly  by  haste,  and  partly  by   over-    

strained  ingenuity,  to  draw  the  wide  and  very  fal-  Decrea^  of 
lacious  inference,  that  every  increase  or  decrease  in  J^cfencJ!' 
real  wages  will  produce  an  expansion  or  shrinking 
of  the  population  precisely  sufficient  to  restore,  after 
(1  time,  the  relation  which  existed  (before  the  alte- 
ration of  wages)  between  the  numbers  of  laborers, 
and  the  funds  for  their  support,  and  thus  bring 
back  wages  to  their  former  amount. 

This  opinion  of  the  effects  of  alterations  in 
wages,  on  the  numbers  of  the  population,  will  meet 
us  again  in  a  part  of  a  subject  when  it  will  be  more 
our  business  to  examine  it.  At  present,  without 
a  more  extensive  discussion  of  it,  we  may  appeal 
to  obvious  facts  and  every  day  experience.  We 
see  very  different  rates  of  real  wages  prevailing  in 
countries  with  similar  climates  and  soils,  and  some- 
times, as  in  the  case  of  England  and  Ireland,  under 
the  same  government.  We  observe  in  the  same 
countries,  alterations  taking  place  from  century  to 
century,  and  from  generation  to  generation,  in  the 
food,  clothing,  lodging,  habits,  and  general  mode 
of  maintenance  of  the  people.  We  have  already 
seen  too^  that  a  very  moderate  change  in  the  rate 
of  wages  is  sufficient,  while  the  productive  power 
of  industry  remains  the  same,  to  produce  a  very 
considerable  change  in  the  rate  of  profits:  and  we 
will  venture,  therefore,  at  present  to  assume,  without 

'  See  page  257- 

264  Rents. 

Book  t.    fuj-^i^ei.  argument,  that  such  a  permanent  rise  in  the 
Sect.  6.    rate  of  real  wages  is  neither  impossible  nor  in:pro- 

bable,  as  is  quite  sufficient  to  produce  alterations  in 

■Dtn^toi  ^^^  ^^^^  0^  profits,  equal  to  the  differences  of  that 
En?y^  rate  in  any  of  the  countries  of  Europe.  This  will 
be  enough  to  support  the  position  we  are  maintain- 
ing, that  a  fall  of  profits  is  never  an  unequivocal 
proof  of  a  diminution  in  the  efficiency  of  agricul- 
ture, because  it  may  proceed  from  a  different  divi- 
sion, between  the  laborers  and  their  employers,  of 
the  produce  of  the  national  industry,  while  the 
amount  of  that  produce  remains  unaltered,  or  is 
increasing  in  all  its  branches. 

An  increasing  relative  Value  of  raw  Produce  is 
no  Proof  of  the  decreasing  Efficiency  of  agri- 
cultural Industry. 

Among  the  proofs  of  a  decreasing  efficiency  in 
agricultural  industry,  the  increasing  relative  value 
of  raw  produce  is  usually  treated  as  one  of  the 
most  decisive.  And  this,  no  doubt,  would  be  a 
conclusive  proof,  could  we  suppose  the  productive 
power  of  manufacturing  industry  (meaning  all  in- 
dustry other  than  agricultural,)  to  be  stationary, 
while  raw  produce  was  thus  rising  in  relative  value. 
If  12  quarters  of  corn  are  observed  to  exchange 
for  12  pieces  of  cloth  during  one  century,  and  in 
the  next,  12  quarters  of  corn  exchange  for  24  pieces 
of  cloth  ;  then,  if  we  were  sure  that  no  change  had 
taken  place  in  the  expence  of  manufacturing  cloth, 
we  might  very  rationally  conclude,  that  the  cost 
pf  producing  corn  had  doubled.     But  when  we  take 

Rents.  265 

into   account   the   very   great   increase   which,  from     Booki. 

,.  ,  ,  .  ,  ~,    .  Chap.  vii. 

time  to   time,  really  takes  place   in   the   eihciency    gect.  5. 

of  manufacturing  industry,  the  case  is  altered ;  and    

we  see,  that  an  increase  in  the  relative  value  of  Decre^  of 
raw  produce  is  what  must  be  expected,  although  the  ^cienc^ 
productive  power  of  agriculture  were  stationary,  or 
even  to  a  certain  extent  increasing.  For  instance, 
let  two  men  produce  two  quarters  of  corn,  and  two 
men  two  pieces  of  cloth  and  a  quarter  of  corn ;  and 
a  piece  of  cloth  will  exchange  for  each  other.  Next, 
the  efficiency  of  agricultural  industry  increasing,  let 
two  men  produce  three  quarters  of  com,  and  the 
efficiency  of  manufacturing  industry  increasing  yet 
more,  let  two  men  produce  six  pieces  of  cloth :  corn 
will  have  risen  in  relative  value ;  a  quarter  of  com, 
instead  of  exchanging  for  one  piece  of  cloth,  will 
exchange  for  two.  In  this  case,  clearly,  we  should 
be  mistaken  if  we  assumed  the  fact  of  a  decrease 
in  the  efficiency  of  industry,  from  that  of  the  rise 
of  the  relative  value  of  raw  produce. 

In  the  progress  of  nations,  an  increase  of  manu- 
facturing power  and  skill  usually  occurs,  greater  than 
that  which  can  be  expected  in  the  agriculture  of  an 
increasing  people.  This  is  an  unquestionable  and 
familiar  truth.  A  rise  in  the  relative  value  of  raw 
produce  may,  therefore,  be  expected  in  the  advance 
of  nations,  and  this  from  a  cause  quite  distinct  from 
any  positive  decrease  in  the  efficiency  of  agriculture. 

266  Rents. 

Book  I. 

Chap.  vii.  ^^  increasing  Money  Value  of  raw  Produce,  com^ 

pared  with  the  Prices  of  other  Countries,  is  no 

Supposed  Proof  of  the  decreasing  Efficiency  of  agricul- 

agricuiturai         tural  ludustry. 


There  are  various  causes  which  may  elevate  the 
raoney  value  of  raw  produce;  one  is  undoubtedly 
the  decreasing  fertility  of  the  soil  which  governs 
prices.  If,  in  two  neighbouring  countries  paying 
equal  wages,  the  land  is  such  that  it  requires  three 
men  in  the  worse  to  produce  the  effect  which  two 
men  will  produce  in  the  more  fertile  of  the  two ; 
the  poorer  country  will  not  be  able  to  sell  its  pro- 
duce as  cheaply  as  the  richer.  Still  different  prices 
are  no  certain  indication  of  a  difference  in  ferti- 
lity. They  may  proceed  from  at  least  three  other 
and  distinct  causes.  First,  from  a  higher  rate  of 
wages;  secondly,  from  a  higher  rate  of  taxation; 
thirdly,  from  a  different  value  of  the  precious 

Whatever  effect  on  prices  may  be  produced  by 
the  necessity  of  employing  more  men  in  agricul- 
ture, will  be  produced  by  the  necessity  of  paying 
higher  wages  to  the  men  actually  employed,  or 
of  paying  higher  taxes.  When  the  corn-grower, 
getting  the  same  quantity  of  produce,  is  obliged  to 
pay  away  an  additional  quantity ;  whether  the  fresh 
expence  is  incurred  in  the  sb.ape  of  wages  to  addi- 
tional laborers,  ox  of  greater  wages  to  those  before 
employed,  or  of  heavier  taxes,  must  be  indifferent 
to   him;  and   as   far  as   the   cost  of  cultivation   is 

Rents.  267 

concerned,    it   amounts    to    the   same   thing.     And  Book  i. 
supposing  two   countries  to  grow  corn  at  precisely    g^^g"* 

the   same   expence  of  labor  and  capital,  an  altera-    

tion  in  the  rate  of  wages,  or  the  amount  of  taxation,  ^^^  of 
may  raise  the  cost  of  cultivation  in  the  one  beyond  ^''^."''"*^ 
that  in   the  other,  though   the   dearer   country   be 
stationary,  or   even   (to   a  limited   extent,)  improv- 
ing in  the  'efficiency  of  its  agricultural  industry. 

There  is  a  third  cause  also,  quite  distinct  from 
the  decreasing  fertility  of  the  soil,  which  may  in- 
crease the  prices  of  raw  produce  in  one  country, 
while  prices  in  other  nations  are  stationary,  and 
that  is  a  decreasing  value  of  the  precious  metals 
peculiar  to  the  dearer  country.  That  this  is  a 
cause  which  has  some  effect  upon  the  prices  of  the 
different  countries  of  the  world,  there  can  be  little 
doubt.  I  wish,  however,  to  be  distinctly  under- 
stood, as  giving  no  opinion  on  the  possible  extent 
or  the  limits  of  that  effect.  The  eminent  WTiter 
I  am  about  to  quote  first  on  the  point,  thinks  it 
will  appear  "that  far  the  greater  part  of  the  high 
"  price  of  corn  in  this  country,  compared  with  most 
*'  of  the  states  in  Europe,"  is  occasioned  in  this 
way.  "  The  causes,"  Mr.  Mai  thus  says\  "  which 
"  affect  the  price  of  corn,  and  occasion  the  difference 
"  in  this  price  so  observable  in  different  countries, 
"  seem  to  be  two.  First,  a  difference  in  the  value 
"  of  the  precious  metals  in  different  countries  under 
"  different  circumstances ;  secondly,  a  difference  in 
*'  the  quantity  of  labor  and  capital  necessary  to  pro- 

*  Principles  of  Political  Economy,  p.  I93. 

268  Rents. 

Book  I.  "  ducG  com.     The  first  cause  undoubtedly  occasions 

Chap.  vu.  a  ^|^^  grcatcst  portiou  of  that  inequality  in  the  price 

"  of  corn,  which  is  the  most  striking  and  prominent. 

Supposed  "particularly  in  countries  at  a  considerable  distance 

Decrease  of        2-  ii  -.«■ 

agricultural  "  irom  cach  othcr.  More  than  three-fourths  of  the 
"cncy.  ^(  prodigious  difference  between  the  price  of  corn  in 
"  Bengal  and  England,  is  probably  occasioned  by 
"  the  difference  in  the  value  of  money  in  the  tv/o 
"  countries,  and  far  the  greater  part  of  the  high 
"  price  of  corn  in  this  country,  compared  with  most 
"  of  the  states  in  Europe  is  occasioned  in  the  same 
"  way."  In  a  note  to  some  fiu-ther  observations  on 
the  same  subject,  Mr.  Malthus  afterwards  says^, 
"  This  conclusion  may  appear  to  contradict  the  doc- 
"  trine  of  the  level  of  the  precious  metals.  And  so 
"  it  does  if  by  level  be  meant  level  of  value  esti- 
"  timated  in  the  usual  way.  I  consider  that  doc- 
"  trine,  indeed,  as  quite  unsupported  by  facts.  The 
"  precious  metals  are  always  tending  to  a  state  of 
"  rest,  or  such  a  state  of  things  as  to  make  their 
"  movement  unnecessary.  But  when  this  state  of 
"  rest  has  been  nearly  attained,  and  the  exchanges 
"  of  all  countries  are  nearly  at  par,  the  value  of 
"  the  precious  metals  in  different  countries,  esti- 
"  mated  in  corn  and  labor,  or  the  mass  of  commo- 
"  dities,  is  very  far  indeed  from  being  the  same.'* 
Mr.  Ricardo  has  stated  similar  opinions.  "  AVhcn 
"  any  particular  country  excels  in  manufactures,  so 
"  as  to  occasion  an  influx  of  money  towards  it,  the 
"  value  of  money  will  be  lower,  and  the  prices  of 

'   Page  jys. 

Rents.  269 

**  com  and  labor  will  be  relatively  higber  in  that    ^°°^  '• 

•'  °  Chap.  vii. 

**  country   than   in   any   other.     This   higher   value    sect!  5 

"  of  money  will  not  be  indicated  by  the  exchange.    

"  Bills  may  continue  to  be  negotiated  at  par,  although  Dec^'se  of 
"  the   prices   of  corn  and   labor  should  be  10,   20,  Sncy?^ 
"or   30  per  cent,  higher  in  one  country  than  an- 
"  other.     Under   the   circumstances   supposed,    such 
"  a  difference  of  prices  is  the  natural  order  of  things, 
and  the  exchange  can  only  be  at  par  when  a  suf- 
ficient quantity  of  money  is  introduced  into  the 
country  excelling  in  manufactures,  so   as  to  raise 
"  the  price  of  its  corn  and  labor ^"     "  In  the  early 
"  states  of  society,  when  manufactures  have   made 
"little  progress,  and  the  produce  of  all   countries 
is  nearly  similar,  consisting  of  the  bulky  and  most 
useful  commodities,  the  value  of  money  in  different 
countries  will  be   chiefly  regulated   by  their  dis- 
tance from  the  mines  which  supply  the  precious 
metals;  but  as  the  arts  and  improvements  of  so- 
ciety advance,  and  different  nations  excel  in  par- 
ticular manufactures,  although   distance  will  still 
"  enter  into  the  calculation,  the  value  of  the  pre- 
cious metals  will  be  chiefly  regulated  by  the  supe- 
riority of  those  manufactures \"     "Of  two  coun- 
tries  having  precisely  the   same  population,  and 
the   same   quantity   of  land  of  equal  fertility   in 
"  cultivation,  with  the  same  knowledge  too  of  agri- 
"  culture,  the  prices  of  raw  produce  will  be  highest 
"in  that  where  the  greater   skill   and   the  better 

2  Ricardo,  2nd  edit.  p.  l63. 
'  Ibid.  p.  159. 


270  Rents. 

Book  I.  "  machinery  is  used  in  the  manufacture  of  export- 

?:;Pf  "able  commodities \" 

The    admission   of  the   influence  of  this  cause 

Supposed  Qjj  ^jig  price  of  commodities  in  different   countries 

Decrease  of  * 

agricultural  jg  gn  uulucky,  but  Unavoidable  bar,  it  must  be 
confessed,  to  any  thing  like  accuracy  in  an  ana- 
lysis of  the  proportions  of  the  different  elements 
of  price  in  diflPerent  nations.  There  are  no  very 
obvious  means  of  determining  to  what  extent  money 
prices  may  be  affected  by  that  different  level  of 
the  precious  metals,  the  existence  of  which  is  here 
laid  down  by  the  joint  authority  of  Messrs.  Mal- 
thus  and  Ricardo.  And  the  attempt  to  solve  the 
question,  can  only  be  successful,  I  think,  when 
founded  on  an  industrious  and  difficult  comparison 
of  all  possible  elements  of  price,  distinct  from  the 
local  value  of  the  precious  metals.  But  if  ceasing 
to  treat  this  as  a  general  question,  we  narrow  our 
view  to  the  causes  which  affect  the  peculiar  value 
of  the  precious  metals  in  Great  Britain  alone,  we 
may  conclude  with  tolerable  certainty,  that  the  low 
value  of  those  metals  must  affect  prices  here  more 
powerfully  than  in  any  other  European  country.  In 
the  first  place,  England  is  pre-eminent  in  the  art 
and  means  of  manufacturing  those  exportable  com- 
modities which,  according  to  Mr.  Ricardo,  tend  to 
saturate  her  with  gold  and  silver;  and  this  is  not 
the  only  peculiarity  which  tends  to  lower  the  value 
of  those  metals  in  England.  The  perfection  of  the 
art  of  substituting  for  those  metals,  and  the  rapidity 

^  Ricardo,  2nd  edit.  p.  157- 

Rents.  271 

Book  I. 

of  her  circulation,  serve  to  magnify  the  effects  of 

the  influx  produced  by  her  export  trade.     Let  us    sect  5. 

suppose    England    and    France    to     require    each    

100,000,000  for  circulation,  and  each  to  possess  DEseof 
that  sum.  If  the  English  found  means  to  substitute  "^^^ 
paper  for  50  of  the  100,000,000,  then  50,000,000 
of  bullion  would  be  set  free,  and  would  have  the 
same  effect  in  lowering  the  value  of  the  mass  as 
50,000,000  of  newly  imported  metal.  If  by  in- 
creasing the  rapidity  of  circulation,  50,000,000 
could  be  made  to  perform  functions  which  before 
required  100,000,000,  a  similar  result  would  follow, 
and  the  value  of  the  mass  be  similarly  affected. 
Now  in  England,  the  art  of  substituting  for  coin 
is  carried  to  an  extent  unknown  elsewhere.  Inde- 
pendently of  the  notes  of  the  Bank  of  England, 
and  of  country  bankers,  private  bills  to  the  amount 
of  100,000,000'^  are  calculated  to  be  constantly 
circulating  as  cash.  The  operations  of  the  London 
clearing-house  are  familiar  to  the  public,  and  are 
alone  sufficient  to  diminish,  to  a  very  considerable 
extent,  the  quantity  of  cash  required  to  carry  on 
the  money  transactions  of  the  empire.  The  rapi- 
dity, too,  of  the  English  circulation,  we  know  to 
be  unrivalled. 

Adding  then  the  effects,  of  her  greater  progress 
in  the  art  of  substituting  credit  and  paper  for 
coin,  and  of  the  greater  rapidity  of  her  circulation, 
to    the   results    of  the    superiority  of  England  in 

^  See  article  Credit,  Supplement  to  Encyclopaedia  Britan- 

272  Rents. 

Book  I.  the  manufacture  of  commodities  for  foreign  sale,  it 

sw^t  r  ^^^  appear  that  all  the  causes  connected  with  the 

value  of  the   precious   metals   which   tend   to   pro- 

Supposed  jjyg^j  ^  hish.  money  value  of  commodities,  are  in  more 

Decrease  of  O  •' 

agricultural  powcrful  actiou  hcrc  than  in   any  other  European 

Efficiency.     ^  ^  ^ 

country,  and  that  whatever  may  be  the  possible 
effects  of  those  causes  in  lowering  the  value  of  the 
precious  metals,  and  on  money  prices,  those  effects 
are  likely  to  be  felt  more  extensively  and  power- 
fully in  our  own  country  than  in  any  other. 

Leaving  the  individual  case  of  England,  how- 
ever, we  return  to  the  general  proposition,  that 
abstracting  altogether  from  any  difference  in  the 
productive  powers  of  agriculture,  the  money  prices 
of  raw  produce  in  different  countries  may  vary  from 
a  different  value  of  the  precious  metals  alone. 

It  has  been  shewn  then,  that  prices  of  raw  pro- 
duce, high  when  compared  with  those  of  neigh- 
boring countries  of  similar  soil  and  climate,  may 
proceed  from  three  causes  acting  separately  or  jointly, 
and  all  of  them  quite  distinct  from  the  decreasing 
fertility  of  the  soil,  namely,  from  higher  wages, 
higher  taxes,  or  a  low  relative  value  of  bullion ; 
the  last  of  which  alone  a  writer  of  great  eminence 
has  declared  to  be  so  influential,  that  it  occasions 
*'  far  the  greater  part  of  the  high  price  of  corn  in 
"  this  country  compared  with  most  of  the  states 
"in  Europe \"  High  money  prices,  therefore,  comr 
pared  with  those  of  the  neighboring  countries,  of 
similar  soil  and  climate,  cannot  be  received  as  any 

'   Malthus,  Principlex  of  Poliliral  Ecnnomy,  p.  IQ3. 

Rents.  273 

indication  of  a  decreasing  power  in  the  agriculture   ^o^"^  '• 

«     ,         -  Chap.  vii. 

ot  the  dearer  country.  Sect.  5. 

We  have  already  seen  that  neither  a  low  rate 

of  profits,  nor  a  high  value  of  raw  produce,  com-  ^e^^ot 
pared  with  other  commodities  fabricated  at  home,  ^^^^ 
are  certain  indications  of  the  decreasing  productive 
power  of  agriculture.  There  is  a  circumstance  which 
at  first  sight  appears  a  more  sure  indication  of 
such  a  decrease  than  any  of  those  we  have  yet  ex- 
amined ;  an  appearance  however  still  fallacious. 

When,  abstracting  from  the  effects  of  taxation, 
an  apparent  diminution  takes  place  in  the  reve- 
nues of  the  producing  classes  considered  jointly, 
when  there  is  a  fall  in  the  rate  of  profits,  not 
compensated  by  a  rise  of  wages,  or  a  fall  of  wages 
not  compensated  by  a  rise  in  the  rate  of  profits, 
there  has  been,  it  may  be  argued,  some  decrease 
in  the  productive  power  of  labor  and  capital,  and 
for  the  moment  we  will  suppose  this  argument 
sound.  When  such  decrease  occurs,  it  has  lately 
been  assumed  as  certain,  that  the  failure  must  have 
been  in  agriculture,  and  not  in  manufactures,  be- 
cause the  efficiency  of  mechanical  and  manufac- 
turing labor  usually  increases  instead  of  decreasing 
in  the  progress  of  nations.  But  this  last  position 
is  far  from  being  universally  true.  The  majority 
of  the  nations  of  the  globe  are  perhaps,  at  this 
moment,  improving  in  manufacturing  power,  and 
there  is  no  physical  reason  why  they  should  not 
continue  to  improve.  But  when  we  take  political 
and  moral  causes  into  our  view,  the  history  of  the 
world  forbids  us  to  conclude  that   the  progress   of 


274  Remits. 

Book  I.   mankind  in  the  mechanical  and  manufacturing  arts. 

Chap.  vii.    .  m      •  i  -n  i         *  /•  • 

Sect.  6.    IS  always  necessarily  in  advance.    Ji.gypt,  the  African 

shore  of  the  Mediterranean,  Asia  Minor,  and  the 

D^^  of  Morea,  can  aid  mechanical  industry  with  but  a  feeble 
^dencyT^  part  of  the  ingenuity  or  power,  which  both  their 
story  and  their  monuments  attest  that  they  once 
possessed.  Capital  and  science  are,  in  our  days, 
indispensable  assistants  to  the  artizan,  and  the  de- 
cay of  the  domestic  arts,  and  the  failing  efficiency 
of  the  industry  connected  with  them,  must,  there- 
fore, be  expected  to  come  in  the  train  of  the  evils 
which  assail  the  decrepitude  of  nations,  and  gra- 
dually impair  their  resources.  England  is  at  this 
moment  the  principal  theatre  of  all  that  power  and 
skill  can  effect,  in  the  various  departments  of  human 
industry  which  are  distinct  from  agriculture;  and 
yet,  if  days  are  to  come  when  her  freedom,  and 
wealth,  and  the  many  elements  of  her  actual  power 
forsake  her,  it  is  in  these  departments  of  industry 
that  the  progress  of  decay  may  be  expected  to  ex- 
hibit itself  the  most  strikingly.  The  power  of  her 
artizans,  and  the  wonders  of  her  manufactures,  will 
assuredly  disappear  with  the  capital  and  science 
which  now  support  them.  In  a  nation  so  circum- 
stanced, the  means  of  the  population  may  become 
less,  and  the  annual  consumption  of  all  classes 
shrink,  though  the  efficiency  of  agriculture  should 
remain  stationary. 

We  have  been  arguing  on  the  admission,  that 
a  decrease  in  the  rate  either  of  wages  or  profits, 
the  other  of  the  two  remaining  stationary,  is  a  proof 
of  a  diminished    produce   and   lessened   productive 

Rents.  275 

power  in  some  of  the  departments  of  national  in-    ^*^^  ^• 

t       .  1     A  1  . .  ,1,1  .1.     Chap.  vii. 

dustry ;  and   have   merely  attempted   to  shew,  that  ^gect!  5. 

even  with  such  an  admission,  an   assumption  that    

the  decrease  necessarily  originates  in  agriculture,  is  iS?re°M*of 
inadmissible.  Hereafter,  we  shall  have  occasion  to  EffidtiT™^ 
prove,  that  the  admission  itself  is  too  large;  that 
a  decrease  in  the  rate  of  profit  w?th  stationary 
wages,  does  not  of  itself  indicate  any  diminution 
of  the  productive  power  in  the  population;  that  it 
is  even  quite  consistent  with  advancing  efficiency 
in  the  national  industry,  and  may  be  accompanied 
by  a  steady  increase  of  the  power  of  accumulating 
fresh  capital;  but  the  developement  of  this  propo- 
sition belongs  to  another  part  of  our  subject. 

We  have  attempted  then,  as  we  proposed,  to 
establish.  First,  that  there  is  no  necessary  decrease 
in  the  returns  to  agricultural  labor  and  capital,  as 
cultivation  spreads  to  soils  of  inferior  quality,  or  ex- 
tracts a  greater  produce  from  the  soils  already  cul- 
tivated; and  secondly,  that  several  circumstances 
usually  supposed  to  indicate  the  existence  of  such 
a  decrease  of  agricultural  power,  namely,  a  fall  of 
profits,  a  high  relative  value  of  raw  produce  compared 
with  other  commodities,  or  a  high  price  of  raw  pro- 
duce at  home,  compared  with  that  grown  in  countries 
of  similar  soil  and  climate,  may  one  and  all  origi- 
nate in  distinct  and  different  causes.  There  remains, 
it  appears  to  me,  no  method  of  ascertaining  the 
fertility  of  the  soils,  governing  prices,  which  are 
actually  cultivated  in  any  country,  relatively  to  the 
fertility  of  those  cultivated  in  the  same  country  at 
earlier  periods,  or  in  other  countries  at   the   same 

276  Re7its. 

^^  ^;.  period,  but  actual  comparison.  One  branch  of  such 
Sect.  5.  an  enquiry  might  be  difficult :  it  may  not  be  easy 
to  compare  the  costs   of  production  in  one  century 

Decrease  of  with  thosc  of  another  century,  in  the  same  country. 

^din"y.  It  is  easier  to  compare,  at  the  same  period,  the 
cost  of  producing  corn  in  a  dear  country,  with  the 
cost  of  producing  it  in  neighbouring  countries,  in 
which  it  bears  a  lower  price,  and  has  a  lower  relative 
value.  It  would  not  be  impracticable,  for  instance, 
to  take  England,  and  Poland  or  Germany,  and  to 
make  them  the  subjects  of  such  a  comparison,  se- 
lecting from  the  poorest  soils  equal  districts  of  con- 
siderable size  in  each  ;  (for  all  observations  on  small 
plots  of  ground  are,  for  many  reasons,  fallacious;) 
it  would  be  necessary  to  ascertain  (abstracting  from 
money  prices)  the  quantity  of  labor  and  the  quantity 
of  auxiliary  capital  employed  in  each  country ;  and 
their  respective  produce.  The  result  would  shew 
with  sufficient  accuracy  the  productive  power  of  agri- 
cultural labor  and  capital  in  each  country.  If  it 
should  appear,  that  in  the  country  where  money 
prices  and  rents  are  the  highest,  the  labor  and 
capital  employed  in  agriculture  really  yield  more 
produce  than  similar  quantities  employed  in  coun- 
tries where  the  money  prices  of  raw  produce  are 
comparatively  low,  then  we  must  ascribe  the  high 
prices  of  the  dearer  country  either  to  heavier  tax- 
ation, to  higher  rate  of  wages,  or  to  a  lower  value 
of  the  precious  metals,  or  to  the  joint  influence  of 
all  these  causes ;  not  to  the  poverty  of  the  soils 
brought  into  cultivation,  or  to  the  poor  returns  to 
the  doses   of  capital  gradually   applied  to  the   old 

Rents.  277 

soils.     And    any   increase   of  the   revenues   of   the    Book  i. 
landed   proprietors,    which  may   have    taken    place,    ^l^  g"' 

must   (abstracting   from    changes    in    the    value    of    

money)  be  traced,  not  certainly  to  a  decrease  which  De?rea^^of 
has  not  occurred  in  the  returns  to  agricultural  in-  ^^[gp"''*^ 
dustry  on  the  soils  governing  prices ;  but  to  a  gra- 
dual increase  of  produce,  common  to  all  soils,  but 
greatest  in  amount  on  the  best;  and  to  successive 
improvements  in  the  efficiency  of  agricultural  capital. 


On  some  Indications  of  the  real  Sources  of  increasing 
Rents,  which  are  to  he  obtained  in  particular  In- 
stances, hy  observifig.  First,  the  Variations  which 
take  place  in  the  comparative  Numbers  of  the  agri- 
cultural and  non-agricultural  Classes  ;  and.  Secondly, 
the  Alterations  which  shew  themselves  iii  the  Land- 
lord's proportion  of  the  Produce. 

It  has  been  stated,  that  nothing  short  of  a  pre-   '^°°^  i- 
cise  enumeration  of  the  wages  and  capital  expended    ^^  y"' 

in  obtaining  similar  quantities  of  produce,  will  enable    

us  to  decide,  with  perfect  certainty,  upon  the  com-  J^^onl"of" 
parative^  actual  fertility  of  the  soils  which  ffovern  increased  , 

•T                                                             J                                                        ^  agricultural 
. .  Efficiency. 

^  The  comparative  potential  fertility  of  soils,  that  is,  the 
fertility  each  would  be  found  to  possess  after  having  been 
for  some  time  cultivated,  with  the  most  and  best  industry, 
skill,  and  means,  is  something  very  different  from  their  com- 
parative actual  fertility ;  a  circumstance  which  should  always 
be  remembered,  when  t;he  policy  of  cultivating  apparently  barren 
wastes  is  under  consideration. 

278  Rents. 

Book  I.   pjiges,  either  in  different  countries  at  the  same  time. 

Chap.  vu.    *        _ 

Seel.  6.    or  in  the  same  country  at   different   times.     Such 
a  comparison  may  be  often  impossible.     Yet  in  ob- 

Two  Indi-  .     ^       .  ^  c      ^  .        .    ,  ^ 

cations  of  scrviug  the  growth  01  the  territorial  revenues  ot 
^^Surai  a  country,  we  shall  naturally  be  desirous  to  know, 
Efficiency,  -^j  gycry  instance,  whether  that  growth  has  pro- 
ceeded "from  the  employment  of  an  additional 
"  quantity  of  labor  with  a  proportionally  less  re- 
"  turn,"  (Mr.  Ricardo's  sole  cause  of  rents\)  or  from 
the  more  genial  sources,  of  increased  produce  ob- 
tained by  increased  .  capital,  and  improvements  in 
the  efficiency  of  the  capital  previously  employed. 

There  are  two  circumstances  which  may  guide 
us  in  our  enquiries  on  this  point,  if  not  to  perfect 
and  conclusive  certainty,  yet  to  a  high  and  satis- 
factory degree  of  probability :  and  these  are.  First, 
the  variations  which  take  place  in  the  relative  num- 
bers of  the  agricultural  and  non-agricultural  classes. 
Secondly,  the  alterations  which  may  be  traced  in  the 
proportion  of  the  produce  taken  by  the  landlords. 
Indeed,  the  evidence  furnished  by  these  circum- 
stances ought  to  be  accepted,  as  we  shall  see,  by 
the  school  of  Mr.  Ricardo,  as  perfect  and  demon- 
strative, although  their  writings  forbid  us  to  sup- 
pose that  this  ever  occurred  to  them. 

When,  during  the  spread  of  tillage,  "an  ad- 
"  ditional  quantity  of  labor  is  employed  with  a 
"  proportionally   less    return,"    the   numbers   of  the 

^  "  Rent   invariably   proceeds   from   the   employment   of  an 
additional  quantity  of  labor  •with  a  proportionally  less  return." 

Ricardo,  1st  edit.  p.  60. 

Rents.  279 

agriculturists   must    be   on   the   increase,    compared   Book  i. 
with  those  of  the  non-agriculturists.     A  simple  cal-    ^^^  g"* 

culation   will   shew   this.     Let   2,000,000   of  culti-    

vators  produce  4,000,000  of  quarters  of  corn,  suffi-  ^Jong"^' 
cient  to  maintain  4,000,000  of  people :  the  number  increased 

/.  .  .  .  agricultural 

of  agriculturists  and  non-agriculturists  in  such  a  Efficiency. 
community  (abstracting  from  foreign  trade  in  corn,) 
will  be  just  equal.  Let  the  population  increase  to 
8,000,000 :  if  the  fertility  of  the  fresh  soils  now 
cultivated  equal  the  fertility  of  the  old  soils,  then 
4,000,000  of  cultivators  will  be  able  to  produce 
food  for  the  8,000,000  of  people,  and  the  relative 
numbers  of  agriculturists  and  non-agriculturists  will 
remain  as  they  were.  But  if  to  yield  the  food  of 
the  additional  4,000,000  of  people  the  fresh  ground 
cultivated  requires  "an  additional  quantity  of  labor 
"  with  a  proportionally  less  return,"  then  a  larger 
number  than  2,000,000  of  the  increased  population 
must  be  employed  in  producing  food  for  themselves 
and  the  other  2,000,000.  Let  that  larger  number 
be  3,000,000,  and  then  5,000,000  of  agriculturists 
will  be  employed  in  producing  the  food  of  8,000,000 
of  people.  The  agriculturists  constituted  one-half 
of  the  population  before  its  increase,  they  will  now 
constitute  live-eighths  of  it.  And  if  the  numbers 
of  the  community  continue  to  increase,  and  the 
ground  from  which  their  additional  supplies  of  food 
are  raised,  continues  to  absorb  "an  additional  quan- 
"  tity  of  labor  with  a  proportionally  less  return," 
then  the  numbers  of  the  cultivators  must  also  con- 
tinue to  increase  relatively  to  the  numbers  of  the 

280  Rents. 

Book  I.  In  the  next  place,  if  rents  in  a  country  occu- 
^^* ""'  pied  by  farmers,  should  ever  rise  from  that  cause 
alone,    which    has    been    so    confidently    stated    by 

Two  indi.  jyjj.^  Kicardo,    to   be    the   sole  possible   cause   of  a 

cations  of  '  -T 

increaaed     risc  of  rcuts,   namely,  "the  employment  of  an  ad- 

agncultural  .    .  . 

Efficiency.    '*  ditioual   quantity   of  labor   with  a   proportionally 
"less    return,"    and   a    consequent    transfer   to   the 
landlords  of  a  part  of  the  produce  before  obtained 
on   the    better   soils ;  then   the   average  proportion 
of  the  gross  produce  taken  by  the  landlords  as  rent, 
will   necessarily   increase.     This   is   almost   self-evi- 
dent, but  it  may  be  as  well  perhaps  to  give  a  short 
calculation.     Let   B,  C  and  Z>,  then,  be  soils  cul- 
tivated with  equal  capitals,  &c. ;  let  S  produce  12 
quarters  of  corn,  Cl4,  and  Z)  16  ;  then,  B  yielding 
the   ordinary  profits    of  stock,  C  will   have  2,  and 
D  4    quarters    of  corn    as   surplus   profits   or  rent. 
The  landlord's  proportion  of  the  produce  of  C  and  Z> 
taken    together,    will   be   6    quarters   out   of  30,  or 
one-fifth.     During   the   progress   of   population,  let 
it  be  necessary  to  cultivate   another  soil  ji,  yield- 
ing to  the  same  quantity  of  capital  which  is  em- 
ployed on  -B,   C  and  D,  only  8  quarters   of  corn. 
Then    as    8    quarters    must    now    yield    the    ordi- 
nary profits  of  stock  on  the  capital   employed,  B, 
which   before   paid   no   rent,   will   have    4    quarters 
as   surplus   profits    or   rent,   C  6,  and   D   8   quar- 
ters :    and   the    landlord   will    take   from    the   soils 
paying  rents,  18  quarters  out  of  42,  or  a  fraction 
more  than  two-fifths  of  their  gross  produce,  instead 
of  one-fifth,   his   former   proportion.     And   so   pro- 
gressively,  as  additional  labor  and  capital  are   em- 

Rents.  281 

ployed  in  tillage,  with  a  proportionally  less  return,    ^^^^  ^.' 
additional  portions  of  the  produce  of  the  old  soils    sect.  a. 

will  continue  to  be  transferred  to  the  landlords  as    

surplus  profits,  in  order  to  equalize  the  profits  made  cations  of' 
by  all  the  cultivators;  and  a  larger  proportion  of '^"^^^i^jj^j^i 
the  whole  produce  Avill  thus,  step  by  step,  assume  Efficiency. 
the  shape  of  rent\  In  any  country,  therefore,  in 
which  there  has  been  a  general  rise  of  rents,  pro- 
ceeding "from  the  employment  of  an  additional 
"  quantity  of  labor  with  a  proportionally  less  re- 
"  turn,"  and  the  consequent  transmutation  of  a  part 
of  the  produce  of  the  old  soils  into  rent,  these 
two  results  must  be  observable :  First,  the  industry 
of  a  larger  proportion  of  the  population  must  be 
devoted  to  agriculture ;  Secondly,  the  proportion  of 
the  gross  produce  paid  to  the  landlords,  as  rent, 
must  have  increased.  If  these  two  results  are  not 
observable,  these  rents  must  have  increased  from 
some  other  cause  or  causes,  and  not  from  "  the 
"  employment  of  additional  labor  in  agriculture 
"  with  a  proportionally  less  return ;"  and  in  that 
case,  ]Mr.  Ricardo  and  his  school  must  have  been 
wrong,  when  they  supposed  this  last  to  be  the  only 
possible  cause  of  increasing  rents. 

This  reasoning  is  so  obvious,  that  when  brought 

^  Mr.  Ricardo  himself  was  perfectly  aware,  (indeed  he  could 
not  be  otherwise,)  that  this  was  a  necessary  conclusion  from 
his  doctrine  as  to  the  one  sole  cause  of  augmented  rents.  "  The 
"  same  cause,"  he  says,  "  the  difficulty  of  production,  raises 
"  the  exchangeable  value  of  raw  produce,  and  raises  also  the 
"proportion  of  raw  produce  paid  to  the  landlord  as  rent." — 
Ricardo  on  Political  Econony,  2nd  edit.  p.  71- 

282  Renis. 

Book  I.    into  coiitact  with  circumstances  as  they  exist  around 
c  ap.  vu.  ^^^  result  must  have  served  to  rouse  more  wary 

Sect.  6.  '  ,  ,  ,    ,  ^ 

reasoners  into  an  immediate  suspicion,  or  rather  con- 
Two  indi.  viction,  of  the  unsoundness  of  their  system.     The 

cations  of      ^  _  •' 

increased  instaucc  of  our  owD  couutry,  viewed  with  the  assist- 
Efficiinc^y.  aucc  of  thcsc  principles,  is  conclusive  as  to  the  fact, 
that  the  cause  erroneously  assumed  by  Mr.  Ricardo 
to  be  the  sole  source  of  every  rise  of  rents,  cannot 
possibly  have  been  in  action  during  the  great  eleva- 
tion of  rents  which  has  actually  taken  place  here. 
On  this  point,  the  example  of  England  is  the 
more  important,  because  it  is  there  alone  we  can 
observe  on  a  scale  large  enough  to  be  satisfac- 
tory, the  progress  of  farmers'  rents,  and  the  con- 
nexion of  that  progress  with  the  fortunes  of  the 
other  classes  of  society. 

The  Increase  of  Rents  in  England  has  proceeded 
from  the  Increase  of  Agricultural  Produce. 

The  statistical  history  of  England  presents  to 
us,  prominently,  three  facts ;  First,  there  has  been 
a  spread  of  tillage  accompanied  by  a  rise  in  the 
general  rental  of  the  country;  Secondly,  there  has 
been  a  diminution  of  the  proportion  of  the  people 
employed  in  agriculture ;  Thirdly,  there  has  been 
a  decrease  in  the  landlord's  proportion  of  the  pro- 
duce. No  one  of  these  circumstances  requires  surely 
any  formal  proof  That  there  has  been  a  great 
spread  of  tillage  we  know.  That  there  has  been 
a  considerable  increase  in  the  general  rental  of  the 
country,  is  a   fact   admitted   by   persons   who   hold 

Rents.  283 

the  most  opposite  opinions  as  to  the  real  causes  of  Booe  i. 
that   increase.     That   there   has   been  a  great  aug-  ^^^'  g"* 

mentation  of  the  relative  numbers  of  the  non-agri-    

cultural  classes,  is  a  fact  almost  equally  notorious,  ^"if^*^  °^ 
The  returns  to  the  two  last  population  acts,  prove  that  f^^^^  '^ 
this  process  is  still  going  on.  The  non-agriculturists  creased 
in  England,  amount  at  present  to  double  the  agri- 
culturists, a  proportion  so  widely  different  from  that 
which  prevails  in  other  parts  of  the  world,  as  to 
constitute  perhaps  the  most  striking  among  many 
peculiarities  in  the  economical  position  of  the  Eng- 
lish population.  In  France,  before  the  Revolution, 
the  cultivators  were  as  4  to  1,  when  compared  with 
the  rest  of  the  people.  The  progress  of  the  other 
classes  has,  since  the  Revolution,  been  extremely 
rapid ;  instead  of  one-fifth,  they  now  constitute  one- 
third  of  the  whole  population.  France  has,  with 
the  exception  of  England,  the  largest  non-agricul- 
tural population  of  any  considerable  nation  on  the 
face  of  the  globe.  There  is  no  reason  whatever 
to  suppose,  that  the  cultivators  of  England  300 
years  ago,  were  less  numerous,  when  compared  with 
the  rest  of  the  English  population,  than  those  of 
France  are  now,  compared  with  the  rest  of  the 
French  people.  The  change  which  has  so  completely 
reversed  their  relative  numbers,  and  given  so  great 
a  superiority  to  the  other  classes,  has  probably  been 
long  in  progress,  and  although  we  know  it  lately 
to  have  proceeded  with  considerable  rapidity,  those 
movements  of  the  different  branches  of  the  popu- 
lation, by  which  it  has  been  effected,  were  proba- 
bly, at  the  commencement,  slow;  but  nothing  very 

284  Rents. 

Book  I.    exEct  Can  be  ascertained  on  this  point,  which  is  not 
Sect  e"    ^^  ^^^  essential  to  our  present  purpose. 

The  gradual  diminution   of  the  landlord's  pro- 

Eil^fsh  °^  portion  of  the  produce  has  long  been  notorious.     The 
Rents  is      following  Statement   is   from   Adam   Smith.     After 

trom  in.  " 

creased  asscrting,  that  in  more  ancient  times,  nearly  the  whole 
of  the  produce  belonged  to  the  landlord,  he  goes  on 
to  say,  "  In  the  present  state  of  Europe,  the  share 
**  of  the  landlord  seldom  exceeds  a  third,  sometimes 
*'  not  a  fourth  part  of  the  whole  produce  of  the  land. 
*'  The  rent  of  land,  however,  in  all  the  improved 
"  parts  of  the  country,  has  been  tripled  and  qua- 
*'  drupled  since  those  ancient  times ;  and  this  third 
"  or  fourth  part  of  the  annual  produce  is,  it  seems, 
"  three  or  four  times  greater  than  the  whole  had 
*'  been  before.  In  the  progress  of  itnprovement, 
"  rentf  though  it  increases  in  proportion  to  the  ex- 
*'  tent,  diminishes  in  proportion  to  the  produce  of 
"  the  land.''  Various  returns  made  to  the  Board 
of  Agriculture  shew,  that  the  third  or  fourth  part 
mentioned  by  Adam  Smith,  as  having  become  in 
his  time  the  ordinary  share  of  the  landlords  in  the 
produce,  is  a  larger  proportion  than  they  now  ob- 
tain ^  a  fact  to  be  expected,  if  his  doctrine,  con- 
tained in  the  sentence  just  printed  in  Italics,  be 

'  Some  of  these  returns  may  be  seen  in  Mr.  Lowe's  book, 
2nd  edit.  p.  155.  It  will  be  observed,  that  the  expenses  only 
are  there  compared  with  the  rent ;  adding  profits  on  the  lowest 
possible  scale,  it  will  be  seen  that  the  rent  must  have  ordinarily 
been  about  one-fifth  of  the  gross  produce.  Even  this  exceeds 
the  usual  calculations  of  some  experienced  land-valuers. 

Rents.  285. 

In    England   then,    rents   have    risen,    the  pro-   Book  r. 
portion   of  hands   employed  in  cultivation   has  be-    ^^'  g"' 

come   much    less   than   formerly,    and   the  propor-    

tion  of  the   gross  produce,  taken   by   the   landlord  JljJ^^JJ'j^^"^ 
as  rent,  has  diminished.     It  follows  from  the  pre-  i^^nts  is 

.  from  in- 

ceding  principles  and  calculations,  that  the  general  creased 

rise  of  rents  which  has  taken  place,  has  not  "pro- 
*'  ceeded  from  the  employment  of  an  additional 
"  quantity  of  labor  with  a  proportionally  less  re- 
"  turn,"  but  from  some  cause  or  causes  essentially 
distinct  from  that,  and  attended  by  opposite  re- 

It  appears  then,  as  the  last  result  of  our  ana- 
lysis, that  the  increased  rents  of  this  country  have 
proceeded  from  better  farming  and  greater  produce^ 

There  are  persons,  no  doubt,  and  more  perhaps 
among  the  ranks  of  the  political  economists  of  the 
present  day  than  elsewhere,  who  will  disdain  con- 
clusions so  like  those  of  the  uninitiated.  Those 
who  have  been  trained  in  better  schools  of  reason- 
ing, must  smile  at  such  a  feeling.  The  enquirer 
into  the  secrets  of  nature  expects  with  reason  that 
the  progress  of  his  labors  will  lead  to  the  continual 
revelation  of  fresh  wonders :  but  in  ethical  and  poli- 
tical investigations,  our  general  views  must,  for  the 
most  part,  be  founded  on  facts  and  feelings  common 

^  To  estimate  that  greater  produce  fairly,  it  is  always  to 
be  recollected,  that  we  must  not  confine  our  views  to  the 
increased  corn  produce  of  small  spots,  although  tliat  is  re- 
markable, but  must  take  in  the  varied  produce  of  consider- 
able tracts;  or  at  least,  of  whole  farms. 



Rents  is 
from  in- 

Book  I.    to   the    liuiTian   race,    and    forcing   themselves   into 
Chap.  vu.  ^       general  observation.     On  these  subjects,  there- 

fore,  without  shewing  any  quarter  to  stubborn  pre- 

EnTsh"^  judice  or  brute  ignorance,  we  may  still  very  safely 
conclude  that  there  are  no  symptoms  of  a  false 
and  diseased  spirit  of  philosophizing  so  certain,  as 
a  feverish  thirst  for  the  stimulus  of  startling  novelty ; 
a  contempt  for  obvious  truths  merely  because  they 
are  already  familiar;  and  a  disposition  to  thrust 
aside,  unregarded  and  unnoticed,  any  conclusions 
which  resemble  those  to  which  every  day  experience 
and  prompt  spontaneous  judgements  have  conducted 
the  bulk  of  mankind. 

Book  I. 
Chap,  vii 


The  Interests  of  the  Landlord  are  not  in  Opposition  to 
those  of  the  other  Classes. 

There   is   great   reason   to  believe,  that   cases 

Sect.  7.    very  rarely  occur,  in  which  the  rentals  of  districts 
cultivated   by   farmers,   increase,  not   because    more 

Interests  of  ''  i       •        t     r  1  iii 

Landlords  producc  has  bccn  obtained  from  the  earth,  but  be- 
to  thos^e°of  cause  the  share  of  the  producing  classes  has  dimi- 
ctlLs.  nished  with  the  increasing  difficulties  of  production. 
We  have  just  seen,  that  in  England,  the  only 
considerable  country  in  which  farmers'  rents  arc  ex- 
tensively prevalent,  there  is  strong  evidence  to  shew 
that  this  circumstance  has  not,  in  any  degree,  in- 
fluenced the  progress  of  rents.  Still  it  has  been 
admitted,  that  in  an  extreme  case,  this  would  be 
a  possible  cause  of  increased  rents ;  and  the  belief 

Rents.  287 

now  widely  spread,  that  it  is  not   only  a  possible  ^^""""Jj. 
but  an  actually  operating  cause,  makes  it  of  some    sect.  7- 
importance  to  correct  an  erroneous  impression,  founded  j^"^^^  ^^ 
on  that  belief,  that   the   interests   of  the   different  Landlords 

not  opposed 

classes  of  society   may  be  in  permanent  opposition  to  those  of 
to  each   other.     Mr.  Ricardo,    who   could  perceive  classes. 
no  cause   from  which  an   increase  of  the   revenues 
of  the   landed  proprietors    could   possibly    proceed, 
except  "  the  employment  of  additional  labor  with- 
*'  out  a  proportional  return,"  was  led  by  the  unlucky 
narrowness  of  his  system  on  this  point,  to  denounce 
the   interests   of  the   landlords,  as   always    opposed 
to  those   of  every   other   class  of  the  community'. 
While   we   have   been   taking   a   more   comprehen- 
sive view   of  the  sources  of  the  increase  of  rents, 
and  have  been  shewing  the  manner  in  which  that 
increase    necessarily   follows   the   concentration    and 
improvement  of  cultivation,  we  have  gathered  ma- 
terials which  enable  us  to  demonstrate  the  unsound- 
ness of  this  repulsive  doctrine.     It  is  true  that  there 
are  cases  in  which  the  landlords  may  derive  a  limited 
advantage  from  circumstances   which  are  diminish- 
ing the  means  of  the  body  of  the  people ;  but  their 
permanent   prosperity,    and   that    gradual    elevation 
of  their   revenue  which  sustains   them  in  their  re- 
lative   position   in    the   community,    must   emanate 
from  more  wholesome   and  more  abundant  sources. 

'  Ricardo,  Essay  on  the  Infiuence  of  a  low  price,  &c.  p.  20. 
"  It  follows  then,  that  the  interest  of  the  landlord  is  always 
"  opposed  to  the  interests  of  every  otlier  class  in  the  conimu- 
'«  nity." 

288  Rents. 

Book  I.         If  indeed  the  being  in  a  position  to  derive  occa- 
g^*^'  T''  sional  gain  from  the  losses  of  others,  were  sufficient 

to  characterize  any  class  of  society  as  having  inte- 

ilndSs^  rests    in   permanent    hostility   with   those    of   their 
not  opposed  countrvmon,  Mr.  Ricardo,  to  be  consistent  and  just, 

to  those  of  •'  ,  ,  .      .  , 

other  should  havc  made  his  denunciation  more  general, 
and  included  in  it  both  the  capitalists  and  the  la- 
borers; for  it  is  not  disputed  that  they  too  have, 
each  of  them,  occasionally,  interests  which  are  ad- 
verse to  those  of  the  rest  of  the  community ;  and 
that  wages  may  be  increased  by  a  decrease  of  profits, 
and  profits  swelled  by  the  decrease  of  v/ages,  as 
certainly  as  rents  may  be  elevated  by  encroachments 
on  the  revenues  of  the  producing  classes.  But  if 
we  were  seriously  to  argue  thence,  that  the  interests 
0^  ail  the  different  classes  of  the  community  are 
in  constant  and  perpetual  opposition  to  each  other, 
tile  conclusion  would  arouse  the  suspicion  of  the 
most  unwary  enquirer.  The  fact  is,  that  the  pros- 
perity which  each  class  can  grasp  by  the  depression 
of  others,  is,  by  the  laws  of  nature,  limited  and  in- 
secure. The  advantages  which  each  may  draw  from 
sources  of  increasing  wealth,  common  to  all,  or  at 
least  injurious  to  none,  are  safe,  and  capable  of 
being  pushed  to  an  extent  of  which  the  limits  lie 
beyond  our  experience,  or  means  of  calculation. 
And  in  this  respect,  there  is  no  difference  in  the 
social  position  of  tlie  landlords,  and  that  of  the 
other  classes  which  compose  the  state. 

When  the  revenues  of  any  one  class  increase, 
tliat  increase  may  in  every  case  proceed  from  two 
causes;  first,  from  an   invasion   of  the  revenues  of 

some    other    class,    the    aggregate    reveiuic    of    tiie    ^°°^  '• 

,  .  11  ..  <^hap.  vii. 

state   remaining   what    it   was :    or    secondly,    from    sect.  7. 

increased   production,    leaving   the    revenues   of  all    

the  other  classes  untouched,  and  presenting  a  clear  Landlords' 

addition  to  the  aggregate  revenue  of  the  nation.      ^tE^Sf^ 

A  little   consideration   will   shew  us,  that  it  is  °J^" 


only  in  the  last,  that  is,  the  most  advantageous 
manner,  that  the  revenue  of  any  class  can  increase 
progressively  and  securely  in  the  progress  of  nations. 
We  will  trace  this  truth,  first,  in  the  case  of  the 
laborers  and  capitalists,  and  then  in  that  of  the 

The  productive  power  of  a  people  being  sta- 
tionary, wages  may  increase,  we  know,  at  the  ex- 
pence  of  profits ;  or  on  the  other  hand,  with  the 
advance  of  the  productive  powers  of  the  popula- 
tion, wages  may  increase  while  profits  are  undi- 
minished. The  power  of  production  being  stationary, 
we  have  already  had  occasion  to  shew  how  small 
an  increase  in  the  rate  of  wages  will  produce  a  con- 
siderable depression  of  profits :  and  we  have  seen\ 
that  supposing  the  capital  employed  to  amount  to 
five  times  the  wages  paid,  an  addition  of  one  single 
shilling  to  every  10*.  paid  as  wages,  would  lower 
profits  from  12  to  10  per  cent.  In  the  ordinary 
state  of  the  world,  the  further  progress  of  a  rise 
of  wages,  attended  by  such  an  effect,  would  soon 
cease  to  be  possible.  Long  before,  in  any  one  na- 
tion, the  rate  of  profits  had,  in  the  course  of  such 
a   process,    been    reduced    to    one-half   their   actual 

1  See  p.  258. 

290  Rents. 

Book  I.  amouiit,  Capital  would  flow  abroad,  employment  be- 
sect.  7.  come  more  scarce,  and  the  rise  of  wages  be  stayed. 
But  if  the  increase  of  the  rate  of  wages  be  accom- 

Tnterests  of  .     i     ■•  t  .  • 

Landlords  panicd  by  a  corresponding  or  a  greater  increase 
to  thEf*  of  productive  power,  it  may  go  on  indefinitely 
otiier  without  any  deterioration,  possibly  with  an  increase, 

of  the  rate  of  profits,  and  of  the  revenues  of  the 
capitalists ;  and  need  only  cease  when  the  pro- 
ductive powers  of  mankind  have  reached  their  ulti- 
mate limit.  It  is  then,  unquestionably,  a  momentary 
advantage  to  the  laborer,  that  his  wages  should  in- 
crease at  the  expence  of  the  profits  of  the  capitalist. 
But  his  interests,  and  those  of  the  capitalists,  are 
not,  therefore,  in  perpetual  opposition ;  because  his 
prosperity,  if  it  is  to  be  permanent  and  progressive, 
can  only  exist  under  circumstances  in  which  it  is 
perfectly  compatible  with  the  undiminished  means 
and  revenues  of  his  employers. 

In  like  manner,  the  productive  power  of  labor 
being  stationary,  the  rate  of  profits  may  rise  from 
a  diminution  of  wages ;  and  the  capitalists  have, 
therefore,  a  momentary  advantage  in  the  depression 
of  the  laboring  classes.  But  the  arrangements  of 
Providence  are  such,  that  their  great  and  permanent 
interests  can  safely  rest  on  no  such  gloomy  founda- 
tion. As  the  poverty  and  degradation  of  the  popu- 
lation proceeds,  the  productive  powers  of  the  labor- 
ing classes,  and  after  a  certain  point,  the  security 
of  property,  diminish.  We  have  an  example  of  the 
first  of  these  effects  in  the  serfs  of  Eastern  Europe, 
and  of  the  last  in  Ireland.  The  serf  does  but  oue- 
third  of  the  labor  of  the  well  paid  freeman ;  and 

Rents.  291 

the   Irish   peasant,  on   his   low  wages,  works   little   Book  i. 
better,  if  compared  either  with  the  English  peasant  ^^^"  ^]' 

or  with  himself  when  less  depressed.     But  a  differ-    

ence  of  two-thirds  in   productive  power,  will  alone  J^Swds"*^ 
more  than  balance  any  difference  in  the  respective  "^o*  opposed 

•^  *  to  those  of 

rates  of  wages,  of  the  best,  and  of  the  worst  paid  other 
workmen  in  Europe.     The  English  capitalists  then 
would   lose  by   the  establishment  of  a  German  or 
Irish  rate  of  wages,   if  their  workmen  were  to  be 
replaced  by  a  race  as  listless  and  inefficient  as  Ger- 
man boors  or  as  Irish  cottiers  in  their  actual  state 
of  degradation.     The  inefficiency  of  the  exertions  of 
the  laboring  classes  is  not,  however,  the  only  circum- 
stance which  makes  a  low  and  decreasing  rate   of 
wages   unfavorable  to  the   permanent   prosperity   of 
the  capitalists.     The  accumulation   of  large  masses 
of  auxiliary  capital  cannot  go  on  undisturbed  in  the 
midst  of  a  degraded  and  turbulent  population ;  and 
it  is  on  the  great  accumulation  of  such  capital,  re- 
latively to  the  numbers  of  the  population,  that  the 
comparative  revenues  of  the  capitalists  themselves, 
and  their  station  and  influence  on  the  community, 
depend.     In  England,  profits  are  low  and  wages  are 
high,  but  in  no  part  of  the  world  do  the  capitalists 
form  so  prosperous  and   important  a   body.     Their 
revenue  exceeds  that  of  the  proprietors  of  the  soil, 
and   equals   at   least   half  the   wages    of  labor.     If 
English  wages  were  run  down,  till  the  state  of  the 
laborers  approached  that  of  the  Irish,  their  discon- 
tent and  turbulence,   added   to   habits  of  reluctant 
and  inefficient  labor,  would  make  it  neither  profit- 
able or  safe  to  employ  here  the  mass  of  capital  at 


292  Rents. 

Book  I.   present  used   in   production ;  and    then,  in    spite  of 
g^j]  r'*  a  rise  in  the   rate   of  profits,    the    mass   of  profits 

realized,  and  the  revenues,  influence,  and  compara- 

i!LnSord8°^  tive  importance  of  the  owners  of  capital,  must  shrink 
not  opposed  ^q  dimcusions  more  nearly  resemblinff  those  of  other 

to  those  of  _  JO 

other  countries.  Although  the  capitalists,  therefore,  may 
reap  a  momentary  advantage  from  the  depression 
of  the  laborers,  yet  their  permanent  prosperity  can- 
not rest  on  such  a  basis.  To  proceed  securely  in 
a  career  of  increasing  wealth,  they  must  be  sur- 
rounded by  workmen  whom  penury  and  degradation 
have  not  made  either  useless  instruments  of  pro- 
duction, or  dangerous  neighbours.  The  interests  of 
the  capitalists  and  the  laborers,  although  they  may 
be  occasionally  in  apparent  opposition,  are  substan- 
tially and  permanently  in  perfect  harmony.  It  is 
the  interest  of  each  class  that  the  other  should 
thrive ;  and  that  additions  to  its  own  revenue  should 
be  derived  solely  from  an  increase  in  the  produc- 
tive powers  of  tlie  industry  of  the  country. 

The  position  of  the  landlords,  in  this  respect, 
is  similar  to  that  of  the  laborers  and  capitalists. 
There  is  a  momentary  gain,  which  they  may  snatch 
from  the  depression  of  the  rest  of  the  community; 
but  they  are  not  excluded  from  the  operation  of 
that  just  and  benevolent  law  of  Providence,  which 
knits  together  the  interests  of  society  by  making- 
fleeting  and  limited  all  advances  in  the  revenues 
of  any  class,  which  rest  on  the  deprivation  of  others; 
and  which  permits  a  career  of  stable  and  indefinite 
increase,  only  when  the  prosperity  attained  by  one 
part  goes  hand  in  hand  with  that  of  all  parts  of  the 

Renta.  293 

nation.     An  advance  of  rents,  founded  solely  on  a    ?*^"^  ^; 
transfer  to  the  landlords  of  a  portion  of  the  produce    sect.  7. 

before  enjoyed  by  the  productive  classes,  must  di-    

minish,  what  without  such  a  transfer  would  have  been,  Lan?iord8° 
the  joint  amount  of  wages  and  profits.  Mr.  Ricardo  ^'thE? 
and  his  school  contend  that  in  such  a  case,  the  re-  "'^^ 

'  Classes. 

venue  of  the  productive  classes  would  become  posi- 
tively less  than  it  was  before ;  that  the  decrease  in 
the  amount  of  raw  produce  returned  to  given  quan- 
tities of  capital  and  labor,  could  be  balanced  by 
no  increase  in  the  effects  of  non-agricultural  in- 
dustry ;  and  they  contend  further,  that  this  de- 
crease must  fall  exclusively  on  the  employers  of 
labor,  and  diminish  the  rate  of  profit,  which  accord- 
ing to  them,  must  vary  vdth  each  change  in  the 
returns  to  the  capital  last  employed  upon  the  land ; 
on  which  returns  they  state  the  rate  of  profits  to 
be  exclusively  dependant'.  Were  we  to  concede 
the  soundness  of  this  view  of  the  case,  it  would 
at  once  become  evident,  how  very  limited  the  ad- 
vantages must  be  which  the  landlords  could  derive 
from  such  a  cause.  When,  in  different  countries, 
which  have  an  easy  intercourse  with  each  other, 
an  ordinary  rate  of  profit  has  been  established,  any 
peculiar  cause  which  diminishes  that  rate  in  any 
one  country,  has  a  tendency  to  drive  capital  to 
others.  The  rate  of  projfit  in  England  rests  at  a 
point  somewhat  below  that  of  neighbouring  coun- 
tries, but  if  the  rate  be  depressed  below   this   in- 

'   Ricardo,  pp.    118,    128.     See    the  passages  before   quoted 
in  the  note  at  page  26I. 

294  Rents. 

Book  I.   fgrior  point,  we  know  frcmi  experience  that  capital 

Chap.  vii.  .  -ha  i 

Sect.  7.    begins  to  escape  very  rapidly.     A  very  short  period. 

therefore,   during   which    only   very   limited   effects 

ilndiOTds**  could  be  produced,  must  put  an  entire  stop  to  a 
to*thS^  rise  of  rents  founded  only  on  a  continuous  fall  of 
J*"  profits.  And  the  landlords  of  an  increasing  coun- 
try would  soon  be  redueed  to  insignificance,  were 
this  the  only  source  on  which  they  could  rely  for 
the  advance  of  their  incomes,  as  the  numbers  and 
wealth  of  all  the  other  classes  were  swelling  round 

To  see,  however,  more  distinctly,  that  the  ac- 
tual sources  of  the  increase  of  the  revenue  of  the 
landlords  are  perfectly  compatible  with  the  pros- 
perity and  undiminished  wealth  of  the  people,  we 
must  not  confine  ourselves  to  so  imperfect  a  view 
of  the  causes  of  the  increase  of  rents.  A  diminu- 
tion in  the  share  of  producing  classes  in  the  pro- 
duce is,  as  we  must  again  repeat,  certainly  a  pos- 
sible, but  as  certainly  only  a  limited  and  very  rare 
source  of  an  advance  of  the  revenues  of  the  land- 
lords; that  gradual  increase  of  their  means,  which 
keeps  pace  with  the  riches  of  other  branches  of  the 
community,  flows  from  healthier  and  more  copious 

We  have  seen  that  the  accumulation  and  con- 
centration of  capital,  and  its  gradually  increasing 
efficiency  as  the  power  and  skill  of  man  advance, 
arc  causes  of  increase  in  the  mass  of  rents  of  which 
the  constant  operation  is  established  by  the  same 
laws  which  regulate  the  productive  powers  of  the 
earth,  and  the  progress  of  civilized  nations  in  the 

Jients.  295 

art  of  cultivating   it.     But  neither  the  increase  of  ^^^  *;. 
capital,  nor  the  increase  of  agricultural  science  and    sect.  7. 

power,  can  be   rationally  expected  among  a  people,    

the  augmentation  of  whose  numbers  is  attended  at  Landlords 
every  step  by  an  invasion,  on  the  part  of  the  land-  515*2e°of 
lords,  of  the  interests  of  the  cultivating  classes.  A  gj*" 
rise  of  rents  founded  on  such  an  invasion,  if  it  is 
injurious  to  the  people,  is  not  less  unfavorable  to 
the  progress  of  the  revenue  of  the  owners  of  the 
soil :  it  presents  them  with  a  momentary  and  limited 
profit,  while  it  destroys  the  hopes  of  large  and 
enduring  improvement.  We  saw,  when  examining 
the  different  classes  of  peasant  rents,  that  while 
they  last,  the  depression  of  the  cultivators  stops 
the  progress  of  those  changes  in  the  forms  of  tenure 
which  the  ease  and  interests  of  the  landlords  de^ 
mand  should  be  completed  as  fast  as  society  is  fit 
for  them ;  and  when  the  capitalist  enters  on  the 
scene  as  a  distinct  character,  it  is  obviously  the 
interest  of  the  proprietors  that  every  spot  of  ground 
should  receive  the  benefit  of  all  the  auxiliary  ca- 
pital which  the  wealth  of  the  country  can  supply, 
made  more  and  more  efficient  by  all  the  skill  and 
power  which  intellect,  and  knowledge,  and  expe- 
rience can  create.  These  are  sources  of  increased 
rents  which  contain  within  themselves  no  causes  of 
stagnation  and  decay,  and  which  for  an  indefinite 
period  may  continue  to  buoy  up  the  revenues  and 
influence  of  the  landed  body,  though  the  numbers 
and  wealth  of  the  other  classes  are  multiplying 
rapidly  around  them.  While  these  wholesome 
causes    of   increasing    rents    are    in    operation,    the 

296  Rents. 

Book  1.    power   and   wealth    of  the   country,  we    have    seen, 

Chap.  vii.    *  i  i  •  i  • 

Sect,  7.    niust   be  advancing,  the  territory  must  become  ca- 

pable   of  supporting   a   larger   population,  and   the 

Landlords  Capital  and  revenue  of  that  larger  population  must 
"©"tfaJw"^  receive  considerable  accessions.  The  circumstances, 
J^^^  therefore,  which  are  the  most  essential  to  the  con- 
tinuous prosperity  of  the  landlords,  are  also  most 
conducive  to  the  increasing  wealth  and  strength  of 
the  nation.  The  miserable  gains  which  it  is  pos- 
sible for  them  to  wring  from  the  necessities  of  an 
impoverished  people,  are  not  less  destructive  to  their 
own  prospects  of  maintaining  a  permanent  and  pro- 
gressive advance  of  income,  than  the  same  gains  are 
injurious  to  the  producing  classes.  Like  the  other 
classes  of  the  community  then,  they  have  an  in- 
terest in  diminishing  the  revenues  of  those  who 
share  with  them  the  produce  of  the  soil.  As  in 
the  case  of  all  the  other  classes  too,  their  gains 
from  such  a  diminution  are  limited,  scanty,  and 
temporary ;  while  the  permanence  and  full  develope- 
ment  of  their  prosperity  can  only  be  secure  when 
it  goes  hand  in  hand  with  the  progress  of  the  peo- 
ple in  wealth,  and  power,  and  skill. 

It  was  an  error,  therefore,  to  suppose,  that  there 
is  any  thing  peculiar  to  the  landlords  in  the  fact, 
that  they  have  occasionally  a  limited  interest  op- 
posed to  that  of  the  other  bodies  which  compose 
the  state.  It  was  a  much  graver  error  which  led 
men  to  teach,  that  their  case  forms  an  exception 
to  that  general  rule  of  Providence,  which  makes 
sterile  and  evanescent  all  advantages  which  any  one 
•class  of  the  community  can  gain  at  the  expence  of 

Rents.  297 

the  others :  that  they  alone  have  no  source  of  pros-    Book  i. 
perity  common  to  them  with  the  wliole  population,  ^^^^p-  ^"• 

and  constitute  a  class  marked  by  the  miserable  sin-    

gularity  of  having  no  interests,  during  the  progres-  [^"^'^rds"*^ 
sive  advance  of  national  industry  and  v^ealth,  but  not  opposed 
such  as  are  hostile  to  those  of  all  the  rest  of  man-  other 

1  •      1  Classes. 


AVe  have  seen  then,  that  rents  may  rise  from 
a  diminution  in  the  return  to  the  producing  classes 
of  the  capital  last  employed  upon  the  soil,  followed 
by  a  transfer  to  the  landlords  of  a  portion  of  the 
produce  of  the  old  soils,  sufficient  to  equalize  the 
share  of  the  producing  classes  on  all  the  soils  culti- 
vated:— that  the  rent  thus  generated  forms  no  ad- 
dition to  the  aggregate  national  revenue: — that  it 
makes  the  joint  amount  of  wages  and  profits  com- 
paratively less,  that  is  less  than  it  would  have  been 
had  no  diminution  in  the  return  to  agricultural 
capital  taken  place: — that  no  positive  decrease  of 
the  joint  amount  of  wages  and  profits  necessarily 
follows,  because  the  increasing  productive  power  of 
the  non-agricultural  portion  of  the  community  may 
balance,  or  more  than  balance  the  decreasing  power 
of  agricultural  industry: — that  this  cause  of  the 
rise  of  rents  is  not  like  the  two  causes  first  ex- 
amined, constantly  in  action  as  nations  increase  in 
wealth  and  numbers:  —  that  its  presence  and  in- 
fluence in  the  elevation  of  rents  are  not  proved  by 
the  circumstances  usually  quoted,  as  the  most  cer- 
tain indications  of  its  operation:  —  that  where  the 
rehitive  numbers  of  the  non-agricultural  classes  have 
been  increasing,  or  where  the  proportion  ol  the  pro- 

298  Rents. 

Book  I.    ducc  takcii  by  the  landlords  has  not  increased,  there 

^^u  7"   ^®  ^  strong  and  decisive  reason  to  believe,  that  this 

cause  has  contributed  nothing  to  any  increase  which 

£Sdiorfs°^  has  taken  place  in  the  rental  of  a  country :  — finally, 
not  opposed  ^2iX  althougli  the  generation  of  rents  from  this  parti- 
other  cular  source  is  prejudicial  to  the  nation,  the  general 
interests  of  the  landlords  are  not  on  this  account 
hostile  to  the  progress  of  the  industry  and  wealth 
of  the  people,  since  their  continuous  prosperity  rests 
always  on  other  foundations. 

We  adduced  facts  and  reasons  to  shew,  that 
"  the  employment  of  additional  labor  without  a  pro- 
"portional  return,"  has  in  truth  had  no  share  in 
elevating  the  rental  of  our  own  country;  and  have 
pointed  out  that  although  it  is,  strictly  speaking, 
a  possible  source  of  inceased  revenue  of  the  landed 
proprietors,  yet  it  is  not,  as  the  establishment  of 
more  efficient  and  complete  cultivation  is,  a  con- 
stant and  necessary  source  of  such  an  increase, 
wherever  the  wealth,  and  skill,  and  industry  of  a 
body  of  farmers  are  progressive. 

We  are  conscious  that  this  peculiar  source  of 
a  possible  rise  of  rents  has  been  dwelt  on  at 
somewhat  greater  length  than  its  relative  import- 
ance may  seem  to  warrant.  The  reasons  for  this 
havx;  been  already  intimated.  The  influence  of  a 
decreasing  fertility  of  the  soils  last  cultivated  on 
the  progress  of  rents,  and  the  manner  in  which 
the  interests  of  the  whole  population  are  affected 
by  the  process,  have  lately  attracted  much  peculiar 
and  anxious  attention,  and  become  the  basis  of 
much    fallacious    reasoning    and    wild    spccidation. 

Rents.  299 

Sir  Edward  West  and  Mr.  Malthus  had  pointed  ^ook  i. 
out,  that  the  soils  actually  cultivated  in  agricul-  sect.  7. 
tural  countries,  were  of  very  unequal   quality,  and    

,,.,./.  T  11       Interests  of 

that  the  actual  prices  01  raw  produce  were  barely  Landlords 
sufficient,  on  some  lands,  to  repay  the  expences  of  °°'^J^-*^ 
cultivation  with  the  ordinary  rate  of  profit ;  while  ^^^ 
on  others,  the  same  prices  did  this,  and  left  be- 
sides a  surplus  for  rent.  This  fact  once  seen,  it 
became  evident  that  the  relative  value  of  raw  pro- 
duce depended  not  on  the  average  cost  of  its  pro- 
duction, but  on  the  cost  of  producing  a  particular 
portion  of  it:  that  to  secure  the  actual  supply,  the 
actual  prices  must  be  maintained,  and  could  not 
be  lessened,  even  though  the  rent  paid  for  the  better 
soils  were  abandoned  to  the  tenants,  or  ceased  to 
exist.  It  became  evident  too,  that  any  circum- 
stances which  made  more  expensive  the  cultivation 
of  the  inferior  soils  used,  would  not  diminish  rents, 
but  would  raise  prices,  since  the  cultivator  of  the 
land  which  produced  no  rent  must  get  his  expences 
and  profit,  or  the  supply  would  fail  and  prices  rise 
from  that  cause.  The  developement  of  these  facts 
threw  considerable  light  on  the  circumstances  which 
determine  the  exchangeable  value  of  raw  produce, 
and  on  the  effects  and  incidence  of  taxation ;  and 
opened  besides  many  new  views  of  those  subjects. 
It  is  not  perhaps  surprising,  that  the  two  writers 
last  named,  should,  in  the  first  ardor  of  discovery, 
have  been  tempted  to  push  the  consequences  of  the 
facts  to  which  they  were  drawing  the  attention  of 
the  public,  somewhat  farther  than  subsequent  and 
more  comprehensive  enquiries  would  warrant.    And, 

300  Rents. 

Book  I.    accordingly,    both    Sir    Edward   and    Mr.  Malthus, 
se*ct  7."   *^*®'  pointing  out,  that  as  cultivation  extends  itself. 

the  capital  employed  upon  soils  of  different  qualities 

i^Sorfs"  produces  very  unequal  returns,  shew  an  occasional 
toffi°^  disposition  to  take  it  for  granted,  that  in  the  pro- 
other  gress  of  agriculture,  every  additional  portion  of  ca- 
pital applied  to  the  soils  must  produce  a  less  return 
than  that  which  preceded  it: — a  distinct  and  very 
different  proposition ;  entirely  without  foundation, 
when  viewed  relatively  to  capital  employed  in  de- 
veloping the  powers  of  the  old  soils;  and  which, 
when  confined  to  the  case  of  capital  laid  out  upon 
new  and  inferior  soils,  allows  nothing  for  the  pro- 
gress of  human  power.  The  unsoundness  of  this 
assumption  has  already  been  pointed  out.  In  the 
treatises  of  Sir  Edward  West  and  Mr.  Malthus, 
however,  these  opinions  were  merely  exaggerations 
of  the  consequences  of  an  important  truth,  pre- 
sented to  the  world  without  being  sufficiently  sifted. 
When  adopted  by  Mr.  Ricardo,  they  became  un- 
luckily the  sole  foundation  of  an  extensive  system  of 
political  philosophy,  embracing  the  whole  subject  of 
rents,  wages,  profits  and  taxes;  and  attempting  to 
explain,  in  a  series  of  logical  deductions,  drawn  from 
this  narrow  foundation,  all  the  causes  which  in  pro- 
gress of  nations  regulate  the  revenues  of  the  different 
classes  of  society ' .     It  was  of  course  essential  to  the 

'  "  In  treating  on  the  subject  of  the  profits  of  capital,  it 
"  is  necessary  to  consider  the  principles  which  regulate  the  rise 
"  and  fall  of  rent;  as  rent  and  profits,  it  will  be  seen,  have  a  very 
"  intimate  connection  with  each  other."     Ricardo,  Essay  on  the 


Rents.  301 

establishment  of  this  system,  that  every  other  ap-    Book  i. 
parent  cause  of  increasing  rents  should  be  proved    ^  i!"' 

illusory.     Hence  the  attempts  made   to  deny  that    

the  general  increase  of  the  produce  of  the  soil,  which  }^,Jio^g°^ 
follows  the  accumulation  of  capital  upon  it,  can  pos-  not  opposed 
sibly  raise  rents,  or  be  beneficial  to  the  landlords,  other 
unless  some  of  that  capital  be  laid  out  without  a 
diminished  return,  and  the  share  of  the  producing 
classes   be   reduced.     Hence,    too,    similar   attempts 
to   prove    that   agricultural    improvements   of  every 
description,    even    those   by    which   the   expence   of 
obtaining   produce  are  made   less,  are,   for  a  time, 
absolutely   prejudicial    to   the  interests  of  the  pro- 
prietors, and  only  begin  to  be  useful  to  them  when 
the  cost  of  getting  produce  on  the  soils  governing 
price  has   been  increased^.     From  a  system  which 

Influence  of  low  Price  of  Corn  on  the  Profits  of  Stock,  Intro- 
duction, p.  1.  '•'  The  general  profits  of  stock  depend  wholly 
"  on  the  profits  of  the  last  portion  of  capital  employed  on  the 
"  land."  Ricardo,  Ibid.  p.  20.  "  But  I  think  it  may  be  most 
"  satisfactorily  proved,  that  in  every  society  advancing  in  wealth 
"  and  population,  independently  of  the  effect  produced  by  libe- 
"  ral  or  scanty  wages,  general  profits  must  fall  unless  there  be 
"  improvements  in  agriculture,  or  corn  can  be  imported  at  a 
**  cheaper  price.  It  seems  the  necessary  result  of  the  principles 
"  which  have  been  stated  to  regulate  the  progress  of  rent."  Ri- 
cardo, Ibid.  p.  22.  But  those  who  are  at  all  acquainted  with 
Mr.  Ricardo's  writings,  will  want  no  extracts  to  prove  to  them 
the  manner  in  which  his  notions,  as  to  the  one  peculiar  source 
of  rents,  served  as  a  basis  for  all  his  speculations  on  the  distri- 
bution of  wealth. 

^  "  If,  by  the  introduction  of  the  turnip  husbandry,  or  by 
'*  the  use  of  a  more  invigorating  manure,  I  can  obtain  the 
"  same  produce  witli  less  capital,  I  shall  lo7ver  rent."     Ricardo 



302  Rents. 

Book  I.   g^^  ^^  possible  modc  of  increasing;  the  revenues  of 

Chap.  vii.       iijii  ^  •    ^  /» 

Sect.  7.    the  landlords,  which  was  not  founded  on  a  corres- 

ponding  decrease  of  those  of  the  producing  classes, 

ilndJoAs"  it  followed  necessarily  that  the  interests  of  the 
To  \hoTof  landlords,  and  those  of  the  other  classes  of  society 
"'her  were  in  a  state  of  perpetual  hostility.  And  this 
gloomy  conclusion  assumed  a  yet  darker  complexion 
when  blended  with  some  other  errors  of  the  same 
school.  As  all  compensation  from  the  increasing 
power  of  non-agricultural  industry  was  overlooked, 
the  reduction  in  the  returns  to  agricultural  labor 
and  capital,  which  according  to  them  follows  a  peo- 
ple in  every  attempt  to  increase  the  quantity  of  raw 
produce  obtained  from  its  territory,  occasions  a  posi- 
tive decrease  in  the  revenues  of  the  producing  classes. 
The  share  of  the  laborers,  they  believed  to  be,  ex- 
cept of  short  intervals  of  time,  invariable :  the  de- 
crease of  the  revenues  of  the  producing  classes  must 
affect,  therefore,  exclusively  the  rate  of  profits.  But 
as  they  assumed  the  people  to  be  fed  in  all  cases 
from  accumulated  capital   alone,  and  capital  to   be 

on  Political  Economy,  2nd  edit.  p.  68.  The  reference  to  this 
strange  passage  was  mislaid,  or  it  would  have  been  quoted 
before.  Mr.  R.  proceeds  to  argue,  that  in  the  case  he  is  sup- 
posing, land  would  be  necessarily  thrown  out  of  cultivation, 
"  and  a  different  and  more  productive  portion  will  be  that  which 
"  will  form  the  standard  from  which  every  other  will  be  reck- 
"  oned."  The  reader  has  seen  (p.  240.)  in  what  manner  the 
introduction  of  the  turnip  husbandry,  and  its  gradual  spread, 
as  the  numbers  of  the  people  were  increasing,  actually  raised 
the  rental  of  a  great  part  of  England,  and  pushed  tillage  to 
a  variety  of  soils  before  uncultivated;  many  of  which  also 
paid  a  rent. 

Bents.  303 

accumulated  from  profits  exclusively,  aud  the  power   i^ook  i. 
of  the  owners  of  profits  to  accumulate,  to  be  depend-    g^^t  ^ 

ant  on  the  rate  of  profit,  it  followed  that  at  every     ■ 

fall  in  the  rate  of  profit,  the  national  power  of  ac-  ilndSords** 
cumulation  was  diminished,  and  a  disastrous  check  "°t2°of 
given  to  the  sole  means  of  providing  for  an  in-  jijier 
creasing  population.  There  is  no  one  of  these  va- 
rious positions  which  is  not  partially  or  altogether 
false;  but  to  persons  possessed  with  an  opinion  of 
their  truth,  the  great  original  error  of  supposing 
every  increase  of  rent  to  indicate  a  corresponding 
diminution  in  the  returns  yielded  by  agriculture 
to  the  producing  classes,  seemed  to  lead  at  once 
to  the  conclusion,  that  at  every  step  in  the  eleva- 
tion of  rents,  the  elements  of  national  prosperity 
were  weakened,  and  the  other  classes  of  the  com- 
munity exposed  to  corresponding  privations.  These 
views  are  embodied  in  many  striking  passages  of 
Mr.  Ricardo's  writings,  which  form  the  framework 
of  a  system  erected  by  him  and  finished  by  others 
who  have  adopted  his  views.  Those  who  will  take 
the  trouble  of  turning  to  his  publications,  will  find 
him  declaring  in  different  passages,  some  of  which 
have  been  already  quoted,  that  the  increasing  rents 
proceed  always,  not  from  additional  wealth  created 
on  the  soil,  but  from  a  transfer  of  wealth  which 
before  existed  into  the  hands  of  the  landlords :  that 
rent  invariably  proceeds  from  the  application  of  addi- 
tional capital  to  agriculture  with  a  diminished  re- 
turn :  that  nothing  which  does  not  alter  the  relative 
fertility  of  the  lands  cultivated  can  increase  rents: 
that   improvements  in   agriculture   do  not   increase 

304  Rents. 

Book  I.   j-ents* '.  that  such  improvements  lower  rents  at  least 
s^r*  for  a  time,  and  lessen  the  means  of  the  landlords, 

their  ability  to  pay  taxes,  &c. :  that  increasing  rents 

J^^,°^ bring   no   addition  to   the  resources  of  a   country: 
not  opposed  ^^X  cverv  risc  in  rents  is  a  mere  transfer  of  value, 

to  those  of  ^  n       1  J  • 

other  advantageous  only  to  the  landlords,  and  proportion- 
ably  injurious  to  the  consumers :  and,  finally,  that 
the  interests  of  the  landlords  are  always  opposed 
to  those  of  every  other  class  in  the  community". 
The  erroneous  views  in  which  these  positions  ori- 
ginated, proceeded  no  doubt  from  imperfect  obser- 
vation and  hasty  reasoning;  there  is  no  reason 
whatever  to  believe,  that  they  were  prompted  by 
malignity,  or  put  in  circulation  to  create  mis- 
chief. But,  however  calm  and  free  from  thought 
of  evil  may  be  the  philosophy  from  which  false 
political  theories  are  engendered,  they  are  no  sooner 
afloat  and  current  in  the  world,  than  they  neces- 
sarily come  into  contact  with  prejudices  and  passions 
which  convert  them  into  sources  of  very  serious 
delusions.  Mistaken  views  and  excited  feelings  as 
to  the  sources  of  the  prosperity  of  the  landed  pro- 
prietors, like  those  which  have  lately  prevailed  in 
England,  have  a  double  bad  effect.  They  lead 
the  people  to  look  with  jaundiced  and  angry  eyes 
upon  augmentations  in  the  revenue  of  the  propri- 

'  See  too  on  this  point  MaccuUoch. 

*  "  It  follows,  then,  that  the  interest  of  the  landlord  is 
"  always  opposed  to  the  interest  of  every  otlier  class  of  the 
"  comm  unity"  Ricai'do,  E.isay  on  the  Infltirnce  of  a  Imv  Price 
of  Corn  on  the  Prqfiis  of  Stock,  p.  20. 

Ke7ih.  305 

etors,  which  are  in  truth  only  so  many  indications  ^^ook  i. 
and  effects  of  a  great  and  most  desirable  increase  g^^  ^' 
in   the  resources   of  the  country.     And  when  dis- 

cussions have  arisen    as  to   practical   measures,  the  i^nSords 

Interests  of 

same   mistaken   views   and   feelings   have  evidently  ""'^j^^^^^f^ 
served,  first  to  make  one  party  querulous  and  angry,  "^^r 
and  then  the  other,  as  if  in  self-defence,  suspicious 
and  reluctant. 


Summary  of  Farmer's  Rents. 

The  fact  that  these  rents  prevail  almost  exclu-    ^°°^  ^; 
sively  in   England,  is  sufficient  to  fix   upon    them    s^ct!  T 

earnest  attention.     They  deserve  it  on  another  ac-    

count.  There  are  indications,  faint  in  some  quar-  o"f^S's 
ters,  stronger  in  others,  but  discernible  in  many,  ^^"'*' 
that  the  European  nations  will  all,  sooner  or  later, 
approach  partially,  at  least,  to  a  similar  system. 
We  have  shewn  reasons  for  believing,  that  their  pro- 
gress towards  it  will  on  the  whole  be  very  slow ;  but 
still  it  is  not  the  less  true  that  the  composition 
and  capabilities  of  countries  in  which  farmer's  rents 
prevail,  must  be  distinctly  understood,  if  we  would 
thoroughly  comprehend  either  the  peculiar  econo- 
mical condition  of  our  own  country,  or  the  probable 
direction  and  character  of  the  future  career  of  our 
neighborsr^  It  certainly  will  be  wise,  while  devoting 
ourselves  to  this  task,   not  to  repeat  an  error  which 


306  Re7its. 

Book  I.  has  blinded  many  late  writers   to  truths  of  a  yet 

c^p.  VII.  j^Q^Q    general    application :    which    has    led    them, 

while  speculating  on  circumstances  peculiar  to  them- 

Summary  sclves,  somctimcs  whollv  to  neglect  those  ruder  and 

of  Fanner  s  '  "     ^ 

Rents.  more  prevalent  systems,  the  results  of  which  decide 
the  fortunes  and  condition  of  the  largest  portion 
of  the  human  race :  at  other  times,  to  confound  and 
confuse  things  and  circumstances  essentially  dif- 
ferent, under  the  cover  of  imperfect  analogies,  made 
more  illusory  by  the  careless  use  of  general  terms, 
and  idle  attempts  to  reason  deductively  from  them. 

We  are  all,  as  Englishmen,  occasionally  more 
liable  than  could  be  wished,  to  some  of  these  mis- 
takes; we  are  much  too  prone  to  consider  the 
state  of  society  in  which  we  exist  as  a  type  of  all 
others,  and  this  narrow  and  mistaken  assumption 
is  necessarily  the  parent  of  much  ignorance  and 
many  errors.  England  is,  in  fact,  at  the  extreme 
end  and  verge  of  the  economical  career  of  nations, 
as  far  as  that  career  is  yet  known ;  at  a  point  not 
yet  reached  by  any  other  considerable  community ; 
and  one  which  has  placed  her  in  a  position,  if 
not  more  desirable,  yet  very  different  from  theirs  \ 
We  see  men  here,  in  agriculture  as  well  as  in  all 
the  other  branches  of  human  industry,  aiding  their 
native  powers  of  production  by  the  use  of  an  un- 
usually large  mass  of  accumulated  stock,  which  the 

^  I  ought,  perhaps,  to  except  the  Low  Countries;  but  I 
shall  have  occasion  -to  shew  hereafter,  that  although  fanners 
rents  prevail  extensively  in  those  countries,  their  economical 
position  is  still  very  different  from  that  of  England. 

Renh.  S07 

skill   and    invention   of   successive    venerations   lias   ^^^^  \- 

11  J       n       1-  Chap.  vn. 

been  tasked  so  to  apply,   as  to  add  gradually   but    gect.  8. 

constantly  to  the  productive  powers  of  the  existing    

race.     This  capital,  and  the  power  it  has  created,  in  o^fIS^m' 
their  separate  application  to  the  art  of  agriculture,  ^"'*- 
enable  the  soil  to  support  a  population,  of  which  the 
whole  amount  is  triple  that  of  the  cultivators.     The 
owners  of  an   imposing   mass  of  accumulated  force, 
themselves  maintain  and  employ  the  whole  of  the  in- 
dustrious  population  ^     The   proprietors  of  the  soil 
are  no  longer  exclusively  either  rulers  in  peace,  or 
leaders  in  war,  and   are   not  the   direct  sources   of 
subsistence    to    any   part    of  the   population.     The 
nation  is  influenced  by  revenues,  as  it  is  governed 
by  institutions,  in  estimating  which,  the  landowners 
appear  only  as  a  part.     The  national  territory,  and 
the  estates  of  the  proprietors  of  land,   preserve  of 
course  precisely  the  same  extent,  while  the  wealth 
and  numbers  of  classes  wholly  independent  of  the  soil, 
are   swelling   and    multiplying    almost    indefinitely. 
Are  the  fortunes  of  the  landowners  in  the   mean 
while  stationary?     Do  they  sink  gradually  into  in- 
significance?     Do   they   cease   to   occupy   a  useful 
and  prominent  station  in  the  community?     None  of 
these  things  happen.     By  the  consequences  of  a  part 
of  the  physical  constitution  of  the  earth,  from  the 
effects  of  which  communities  of  men  could  not  escape, 
were  they  perverse  enough  to  wish  it,  the  landed  body 
preserves  a  wholesome  and  modified,  though  no  more 
an    exclusive   influence ;    and    its   members   remain 

*   Exclusive  of  menial  servants,  of  course. 


308  Rents. 

Book  I.   important  elements  of  a  society,  in  which  they  are 
^sm  r   "®  longer  dominant.     As  the  knowledge  and  skill  of 

the  cultivators   discover  the   means   of  applying   a 

of  F^r'8  ^^^^  portion  of  the  increasing  capital  of  the  com- 
^^^'  munity  to  the  important  purpose  of  bringing  into 
play  the  latent  powers  of  the  soil,  and  of  enlarging 
the  means  of  supporting  a  growing  nation,  a  new 
species  of  rent  exclusively  prevails :  the  fresh  power 
thus  applied,  forcing  greater  results  from  the  better 
soils,  produces  a  fund  which  forms  no  part  of  the 
ordinary  remuneration,  either  of  the  laborers  who 
till  the  lands,  or  of  the  capitalists  who  maintain, 
direct  and  assist  them,  and  when  once  identified 
with  this  ftind,  of  which  we  have  seen  that  the  pro- 
gress and  amount  are  quite  indefinite,  the  incomes 
of  the  landlords  continue  progressive  with  the  ad- 
vancing resources  of  the  country.  It  is  thus  that 
that  inequality  in  the  productive  powers  of  different 
portions  of  the  earth's  surface,  which  at  the  com- 
mencement of  the  agricultural  labors  of  mankind, 
exercises  no  perceptible  influence  on  the  origin  or 
on  the  forms  of  rent,  and  but  little  on  its  varia- 
tions, shews  at  last  its  peculiar  importance;  and 
during  the  matured  and  improved  advance  of  na- 
tions, is  sufficient  of  itself  to  secure  for  the  landed 
body,  a  steady  and  necessary,  though  a  limited  and 
innoxious  advance  of  their  incomes. 

We  have  already  seen  the  utter  fallacy  of  the 
notion,  that  this  progress  must  be  attended  at  every 
step  with  a  decrease  in  the  productiveness  of  the 
soils  which  govern  prices,  or  with  a  consequent 
pressure  on  the  means  of  any  class  of  society. 

Rents.  309 

Book  I. 

Observations  on  some  circumstances  in  the  actual  Chap.  ▼«. 
position  of  England.  Secu^. 

X  •  ii-  !•-/•/•  A'.    Position  of 

In  surveying  this  subject  of  farmers  rents,  it  England. 
is  not  easy,  perhaps  it  is  not  desirable,  to  avoid 
quitting  the  contemplation  of  them  in  a  general 
and  abstract  point  of  view,  for  the  purpose  of  ap- 
plying the  principles  which  arise  out  of  that  survey 
to  the  case  of  England,  and  to  the  peculiarities  of 
its  actual  condition :  and  meaning  to  steer  as  clear 
as  possible  of  every  thing  commonly  called  politics, 
there  are  a  few  observations  of  this  description  which 
I  cannot  turn  aside  from  making. 

It  is,  we  have  seen,  on  the  increasing  wealth 
and  progressive  skill  of  the  agricultural  capitalist, 
tbe  farmer,  that  the  steady  progress  of  the  landed 
body  is  independent.  Not  a  step  can  be  made  in 
agriculture,  not  one  improvement,  not  a  single  por- 
tion of  new  power  introduced  into  the  art  of  culti- 
vation, which  does  not,  if  generally  adopted,  by  its 
unequal  effects  over  the  surface  of  the  country,  raise 
the  mass  of  rents.  The  property  and  the  energy  and 
mental  activity  of  the  farmers,  are  thus  the  main- 
stay, the  sole  permanent  reliance  of  the  landlords. 
Every  circumstance  which  diminishes  the  means, 
the  security,  or  the  hopefulness  and  energy  of  these 
agents  of  cultivation,  must  be  proportionably  detri- 
mental to  the  best  interests  of  the  proprietors.  I 
think  there  is  little  doubt,  that  if  the  changes  and 
fluctuations  which  have  occurred  since  the  peace,  had 
not  crippled  the  means  and  damped  the  enterprise  of 
the   farmers,    they   would,    by   spreading  improved 

310  Rents. 

®**'  ^-    modes  of  cultivation  to  large  districts,  as  vet  imper- 

Chap.  vii.       .  j     i  •  « 

Sect  8.    vious   to  them,   and   by   a    continuous    progress    of 

power  and  skill,  have  produced  a  considerable  mass 

England,  of  producc  Tcuts  which  do  not  now  exist.  The 
non-existence  of  these  is  unquestionably  a  serious 
and  gratuitous  misfortune  to  the  proprietors:  perhaps 
the  greatest  they  have  experienced;  for  had  it  not 
occurred,  their  incomes,  in  spite  of  the  altered 
circumstances  of  the  country,  might  have  been 
buoyed  up  to   something  like   their   former  level. 

But  proprietors  do  not  suffer  alone,  when  the 
national  progress  in  developing  the  powers  of  its 
soil  is  stayed  and  thwarted  by  the  farmers  being  im- 
poverished and  disheartened.  The  non -agricultural 
classes  suffer  in  their  turn,  and  that  in  a  manner, 
and  to  an  extent,  which  is  not  the  less  formi- 
dable, because  it  is  not  easy  accurately  to  track  the 
loss  in  its  progress  and  diffusion,  or  to  measure  its 
precise  amount.  It  is  probable,  that  after  allowing 
for  their  own  consumption,  the  value  of  the  pro- 
4  duce  bartered  by  the  agriculturists  with  the  non- 
agriculturists  is  not 'less  than  100  millions.  This 
fact  is  well  adapted  to  shew  the  mutual  depen- 
dence of  the  two  great  classes  of  the  state.  Let 
us  suppose,  that  scared  by  losses  and  apprehensions, 
the  farmers  withdraw  one  fourth  of  their  annual 
expenditure  from  the  task  of  cultivation.  This  is 
a  process,  which  every  one  acquainted  with  country 
business  will  know  might  be  quietly,  and  almost 
imperceptibly  effected,  by  using  less  labor,  or  by 
farming  less  highly  in  a  variety  of  ways.  If  a  pro- 
portionate diminution  in  production-  were  to  follow, 

Rents.  311 

and    consequent   on    that,  a   similar   diminution  in    ^°°^  '• 
the   home   traffick   between   the    agriculturists    and    sect.  8. 

the  non-agriculturists,   the  decrease  in  the   demand    

for  the  produce  of  the  industry  of  these  last  EngS° 
would  be  considerably  more  than  equivalent  to  the 
decrease  of  demand,  which  would  follow  the  de- 
struction of  one  half  the  whole  foreign  trade  of 
the  country.  I  do  not  say  that  such  a  case  either 
has  occurred,  or  is  likely  to  occur,  although  I  have 
heard  some  strong  opinions  on  that  subject  from  per- 
sons well  entitled  to  be  listened  to  with  attention; 
but  an  effect  much  less  than  this,  would  unquestion- 
ably be  more  than  equal  to  the  sudden  and  com- 
plete stoppage  of  the  most  important  branch  of  our 
export  trade ;  and  an  effect  even  greater  than  this, 
would  certainly  follow  any  sudden  and  violent 
attack  upon  the  means  of  the  farmers.  The  re- 
sults of  any  decrease  in  the  domestic  demand 
would  be  spread  over  a  larger  surface;  and  would 
therefore  be  less  intensely  felt  on  any  one  point, 
and  create  less  concentrated  clamor;  than  the  re- 
sults of  a  decrease  to  a  similar  extent,  when  felt 
in  the  export  market  alone;  but  it  would  be  an 
obvious  delusion  to  suppose,  that  the  resources  and 
prosperity  of  the  whole  body  of  non-agriculturists, 
would  not  be  affected  to  precisely  the  same  extent 
in  the  one  case  as  in  the  other. 

It  is  difficult  not  to  believe  that  part  of  the 
distress  which  seems  to  have  lighted  from  some 
mysterious  cause  on  many  classes  of  the  commu- 
nity, is  to  be  traced  to  the  imperceptible  con- 
traction of  this  part  of  the  home  demand.     There 

312  Rents. 

Book  I.   are  persons    doubtless   who    think,    that    any    pos- 
g^^*  J"'  sible  reduction   of  home,   may  be   compensated   by 

the  extension  of  foreign,  demand.  This,  in  practice, 
]to*Und  ^^  ^^  **"^y  ^^^^  ^^  ^  certain  extent ;  but  this  question 
would  provoke  discussion,  and  we  will  suppose  it 
true  to  any  extent.  Still  it  is  clear  that  foreign 
demand  is  not  likely  to  be  suddenly  created,  to 
counteract  the  effects  of  sudden  contractions  of  the 
domestic  traffic ;  and  that  therefore  a  period  of  con- 
siderable distress  and  languor,  perhaps  ruin  and 
calamity,  must  follow  all  such  contractions. 

It  is  the  evident  interest  of  the  non-agricul- 
turists then,  that  whatever  changes  take  place  in 
foreign  demand,  the  home  market  should  be  pros- 
perous, because  it  is  their  largest  market;  and 
that  it  should  not  vary,  because  such  variations 
must  affect  their  own  prosperity.  If  the  un- 
checked career  of  the  farmers  is  essentially  con- 
nected with  the  prosperous  fortunes  both  of  the 
landed  proprietors,  and  of  the  non-agricultural 
classes,  it  must  obviously  be  closely  connected  with 
the  prosperous  fortune  of  the  nation;  and  no  plan 
of  legislation  can  be  sound  and  wise,  which  does 
not  cautiously  avoid  any  measures  likely  to  destroy 
either  the  means  or  the  spirit  of  the  agricultural 
capitalists.  Now  considering  how  many  interests 
are  bound  up  in  the  results  of  wise  and  cautious 
legislation,  whenever  the  interests  of  the  agricul- 
tural capitalists  are  concerned,  it  is  singularly  un- 
lucky that  such  a  question  as  that  of  the  "  Corn 
Laws"  should  exist,  which  seems  fated  never  to  be 
approached  without  provoking   an  angry  and  head- 

Rents.  313 

long    spirit    in   one    great   division   of  the    nation,   ^°°^  f- 
and  a   most  mischievous   temper   of    fear    and   de-    ^^i  8. 

pression  in  the  other  division.     Yet  it  is  admitted,    

that  in  the  present  financial  situation  of  the  country,  ESgiaSd." 
com  laws  of  some  description  must  exist.  Nor  is 
there  in  truth  any  great  dispute  ahout  the  main 
principle :  the  establishment  of  a  "  Protection  from 
peculiar  burthens"  is  what  all  profess  to  be  con- 
tent with. 

But  here  the  real  difficulty  of  the  question 
begins;  what  are  the  peculiar  burthens  sustained 
by  the  agriculturists?  and  it  is  because  I  can 
point  out  two  important  measures,  the  effecting 
which  would  go  far  to  remove  the  difficulty  of 
deciding  this  question,  or  at  any  rate  would  make 
that  difficulty  less  decisive  and  important,  that  I 
have  ventured  into  this  digression. 

There  are  two  payments  made  by  the  farmer, 
which  while  they  remain  in  their  present  state, 
will  continue  to  confuse  the  subject  so  much,  that 
neither  party  to  the  discussion  is  likely  to  be 
satisfied;  and  these  are  Tithes  and  Poor  Rates. 
The  real  incidence  and  the  effects  of  both  of  these,  we 
shall  explain  more  at  large  when  speaking  of  taxation. 
The  incidence  of  tithes  is  certainly  in  every  par- 
ticular instance  a  question  which  involves  some 
statistical  difficulties,  not  because  the  principles 
which  enable  us  to  determine  the  question  are  ab- 
struse or  obscure,  but  because  that  incidence  is 
different,  in  countries  differently  circumstanced  as 
to  the  actual  position  and  state  of  their  agricul- 
tural population.     In  the  particular  case  of  England, 

314  Rents. 

Book  I.  however, — in  the  first  place  it  can  be  made  abun- 
SecL  0,  dantly  clear,  that  tithes,  when  first  created,  must 
-7; —  have  been  in  the  then  circumstances  of  the  English 
England,  populatiou,  meant  to  act  as  a  rent  charge;  and  in 
the  second  place  it  seems  agreed  on  all  hands, 
not  only  that  tithes  should  be  put  upon  such  a 
footing  as  to  be  no  real  burthen  on  agriculture;  to 
cause  no  addition  to  the  growing  price  of  produce ;  but 
further,  that  they  should  be  placed  upon  such  a  foot- 
ing, that  it  may  be  palpable  and  clear  to  all  branches 
and  classes  of  the  population  on  and  off  the  land,  that 
they  are  not  such  a  burthen,  and  do  not  cause  such 
an  addition.  Now  this  can  only  be  effected  by  a 
general  commutation.  What  has  passed  in  Par- 
liament may  be  taken  as  a  proof,  that  the  leaders 
of  the  Church  are  perfectly  willing  to  co-operate 
in  the  adoption  of  any  rational  plan  of  this  kind  : 
should  the  legislature  set  about  the  task,  with  a 
serious  conviction  of  its  usefulness  and  importance, 
and  intrust  the  execution  of  it  to  the  hands  of 
persons  acting  on  sound  views,  and  in  a  frank  and 
honest  spirit  of  conciliation,  its  very  few  difficulties 
would  quickly  disappear.  On  the  immense  im- 
portance of  such  a  change  in  a  political  and  re- 
ligious, as  well  as  in  an  economical  point  of  view, 
it    cannot  be  necessary  to  enlarge. 

The  poor  laws  present  a  much  more  pressing 
and  alarming  mass  of  evil,  as  they  do  also  much 
more  serious  difficulties.  In  the  first  place,  the 
effects  of  the  poor  laws  as  a  mere  economical  evil, 
as  affecting  the  interests  and  calculations  of  the 
farmer,   and  the  growing  prices  of  corn,  are  consi- 

Rents.  315 

derably  underrated.     These  laws  are  first,  a  burthen   ^°^  '; 
the    direct   and   indirect    pressure   of  which,    it    is    gect «" 

difficult  for  the   farmer   himself  to   calculate;    and    

which  it  is  probable  therefore,  that  in  all  cases  he  England"^ 
exaggerates;  and  in  the  next  place  they  form 
a  much  more,  a  very  much  more,  serious  addition 
to  the  necessary  price  of  agricultural  produce  in 
England,  than  a  mere  arithmetical  calculation 
would  lead  us  to  conclude  they  did:  and  they  do 
this,  because  their  pressure  is  unequally  distributed, 
and  falls  by  far  the  most  heavily  on  those  poorer 
soils,  the  expence  of  cultivating  which  must  in  the 
long  run,  (abstracting  from  the  effects  of  foreign 
importation)  determine  the  average  prices  of  raw 
produce.  This  circumstance  alone  forms  a  suffi- 
ciently urgent  reason  for  attempting  such  altera- 
tions as  might  get  rid  of  this  unnatural,  and  cer- 
tainly not  desirable,  interference  with  the  level  of 
English  prices. 

But  all  merely  economical  considerations  really 
sink  into  utter  insignificance,  when  we  turn  to  the 
fearfid  mass  of  moral  and  political  mischief  which 
they  have  brought  into  action  \  It  is  not  too  much 
to  say,  that  they  have  thoroughly  destroyed  the  hap- 
piness of  the  agricultural  peasantry,  and  corrupted 
their  habits  as  laborers  and  as  men.     These  effects 

^  It  is  from  no  theoretical  views  that  I  speak,  but  from  an 
intimate  and  assuredly  a  most  painful  experience,  when  I  say 
this.  I  ought,  however,  perhaps  to  mention,  that  my  personal 
experience  has  been  confined  to  the  agricultural  laborers,  and  to 
the  counties  of  Kent  and  Sussex. 

316  Rents. 

Book  I.   }jave    shewn    themselves    but    too    distinctly.     The 

Chap.  vii.    -,  •,.  •,  i  i  i 

Sect.  8.    late  disturbances  among  that  peasantry  only  sheer 

ignorance    could    attribute    to    any   peculiar   actual 

En^d.°  pressure.  The  temper,  and  feelings,  and  delusions 
in  which  they  originated,  have  been  forming  for 
some  time.  The  outbreak  might  have  been  foreseen 
by  all  (and  it  was  foreseen  by  some)  familiar  with 
the  practical  working  and  results  of  the  system : 
and  unless  that  system  be  annihilated,  or  at  least 
essentially  and  fundamentally  altered,  those  dis- 
turbances will,  it  may  confidently  be  expected  from 
the  nature  of  the  case,  have  been  neither  the  last, 
nor  the  most  dangerous.  And  still,  evil  and  dan- 
gerous as  they  have  been,  they  were  only  one 
effect  and  indication  of  the  miserably  distorted 
and  irritated  feelings  of  which  they  were  the  re- 
sult. The  legislation  of  the  country  on  this  sub- 
ject has  been  bad,  and  deserves  unquestionably 
much  of  the  blame  which  has  been  shifted  to  the 
shoulders  of  those  who  have  administered  its  re- 
gulations. But  neither,  certainly,  has  their  admi- 
nistration been  blameless.  Bad  laws  have  laid  the 
foundation ;  and  then,  sometimes  by  bad  manage- 
ment with  very  good  intentions,  and  sometimes  by 
bad  management  with  very  questionable  intentions, 
the  poor  have  gradually  been  brought  into  a  con- 
dition in  which  they  are  led  to  attribute  unhe- 
sitatingly every  privation  and  every  disappointment 
to  those  neighbors,  under  whose  control  they  find 
themselves,  and  who  are  to  them  the  visible  source 
of  all  the  good  and  evil  of  their  lot.  When  men 
arc    in    this  position,    the    consequences   arc    most 

Rents.  317 

fatal,  though  most  natural.     Can    we    wonder  that    ^^^^  ^■ 
their   tempers  had  become  soured,   and  their  views    sea'  a''* 

of  what  is  reasonable  and  unreasonable,  of  what  is    

right  and  wrong,  perverted?  The  fact  is,  that  E^bSd." 
there  had  been  for  some  time  spreading  through 
this  class  of  our  population  an  angry  spirit  of  dis- 
like to  their  immediate  superiors,  the  most  dan- 
gerous germ  of  political  disorder;  and  in  the  mean 
time  their  own  principles  and  habits  have  assumed 
a  character,  over  which  it  is  impossible  not  to 
mourn ;  which  far-seeing  persons  may  easily  trace 
back  to  causes  over  which  the  poor  themselves 
had  no  control;  but  which  is  extremely  ill  calcu- 
lated to  conciliate  the  confidence,  or  the  good  will, 
or  forbearance,  of  those  who  have  to  deal  with  it; 
and  tends  therefore  by  its  consequences  to  perpe- 
tuate and  increase  distrust  and  ill  will  between  the 
laborers,  and  those  who  have  the  management  of 
them  and  of  their  fortunes. 

We  have  had  from  these  causes  a  painful  in- 
stance of  the  connexion  of  economical  and  moral 
evil.  The  moral  havoc  has  indeed  been  complete. 
The  honesty  of  the  laborers,  their  self  respect, 
their  value  for  their  character  as  workmen,  all 
hope  of  bettering  their  condition  in  life  by  good 
conduct,  industry,  and  prudence;  their  sense  of 
their  mutual  duties  and  claims  as  parents  and 
children,  all  feelings  and  habits  in  short,  that  con- 
tribute to  make  men  good  citizens,  and  good  men, 
have  been  undermined  and  impaired,  or  utterly 

No   remedy   for  these  evils  in  the  condition  of 
the   poor  deserves   the  name  of  a  wise  and  states- 

318  Rents. 

Book  I.    manlike   measure,    which   is   not  of  a   nature   suffi- 
gg^'g"    ciently    comprehensive,    to    offer    some    promise   of 

bringing  healing  and  health  to   all   these   diseased 

EngS."*^  points.  I  do  not  know  that  such  a  remedy  need  be 
despaired  of:  the  plan  of  using  allotments  of  land 
for  such  a  purpose,  has  been  sufficiently  discussed 
and  tried,  to  enable  us  to  judge  of  its  capabilities. 
If  the  country  was  enabled,  by  the  necessary  mo- 
difications of  the  existing  laws,  and  by  some  new 
ones,  to  adopt  that  plan  efficiently  into  general  prac- 
tice, it  might  enable  the  agricultural  districts,  not 
merely  to  palliate  the  actual  pressure,  the  threaten- 
ing danger,  from  the  poor  laws ;  but  to  do  what 
must  be  effectually  done,  if  the  moral  mischief  is 
to  be  eradicated;  and  that  is,  to  annihilate  the 
connexion  between  the  able  bodied  laborers  and 
those  laws,  altogether,  and  for  ever\  In  the  mean 
time,  it  would  be  a  dangerous  experiment  for  the 
governors  of  a  state  so  situated,  to  fold  their  hands 
and  wait  for  what  is  to  happen  next.  The  slow, 
and  too  often   perplexed   and  thwarted   progress  of 

^  Individual   impressions    upon   a   subject   of  such    mighty 
national    importance,    I   am  aware  do  and  ought  to  count  for 
but  little;  but  as  I  have  been  led  to  the  subject,  it  may  not 
perhaps  be  presumptuous  to  state,  that  my   awn  observations 
have  led  to  a  strong  belief,  that  such  a  plan  might  be  devised 
and  carried  with  cheerfulness  and  popularity  into  general  ex- 
ecution ;    and  this,   with  very  desirable  economical,   as  well  as 
most  important  moral  and  political  effects.     And  that,   if  regu- 
lated and   executed  under   the  guidance  of  sound  views,   and 
with   reasonable   precautions,    it   need   not   be   feared  that   the 
many   good  effects  of  such  a   plan    would   be  marred  by   the 
results   of  the   principle  of  population,  or   be   neutralized   by 
any  train  of  accompanying  evils. 

Rents.  319 

individual  efforts,  can  lead  to  no  general  results  of    ^°°*^  \- 
sufficient   power   to    arrest   in  time  the  progress  of    y^^j'  g 

the  moral  pestilence  which  has  long  been  pursuing    

our  footsteps,  and  is  already  breathing  on  our  necks.  Entk^d" 
Legislation  must  be  resorted  to,  and  that,  compre- 
hensive and  decisive,  as  the  occasion  demands;  but 
carried  on  (it  need  hardly  be  said)  in  a  spirit  as 
calm  and  benevolent  as  it  is  firm  and  decided :  and 
guided  ever,  it  may  be  hoped,  by  the  great  aim,  of 
promoting  the  comforts  and  happiness  of  the  labor- 
ing class,  as  the  best  and  surest  foundation  of  the 
prosperity  and  peace  of  the  nation  at  large. 

I  must  add,  while  on  this  subject,  that  no  plan 
for  extinguishing  the  claims  of  able  bodied  laborers 
on  their  parishes,  will  appear  to  me  either  just  or 
expedient,  which  is  not  calculated  to  place  them 
not  only  ultimately,  but  at  every  step  of  the  change, 
in  a  position,  not  merely  as  good  as  that  in  which 
they  are  now,  but  better.  Without  forgetting  or 
palliating  their  actual  faults,  still  we  should  re- 
member, that  the  miserable  system  by  which  their 
better  principles,  and  in  some  measure  their  free- 
dom of  body  and  mind,  have  been  bartered  as  it 
were  piece-meal  for  doles  from  the  poors'-rate,  was 
neither  devised  nor  desired  by  them:  and  it  will 
be  in  vain  and  unjust  to  call  upon  them  to  make 
efforts  to  disentangle  themselves  from  its  effects, 
except  they  can  distinctly  see  that  it  is  not  risk 
or  loss  or  suffering,  but  gain  and  reward,  which 
are  proffered  to  them. 

It  will  be  recollected,  that  the  tithe  and  poor- 
laws  have  only  been  considered  here  as  bearing  on 

320  Rents. 

Book  I.    ^hc  general  question  of  the  corn -laws ;  and  through 
g^ct!  8.    that   question,  on  the   harmony   of  the  agricultural 

and   non-agricultural   classes,    and   on   the   uninter- 

Engiand."    Tuptcd  perception  by  both  of  them,  of  their  common 
and  inseparable  interests.     To  return  then  more  dis- 
tinctly and  exclusively  to  this  point  of  view.     If  we 
suppose   the    tithes    commuted,   and   the   poor-rates 
done  away  with,  or  reduced  to  a  very  small  sum, 
then  the  farmer,  in  estimating  his  peculiar  burthens, 
would  be  relieved  from  a  feeling  of  indefinite  pres- 
sure, and  from  many  vague  fears  of  risk  and  loss, 
which  are  kept  alive  and  irritated  by  the  existence 
of  those  payments  in  their  present  state.     This  ef- 
fected, a  scale  of  duties  might  probably  be  devised, 
which    should   be   both   fixed    and    moderate.     Till 
this  is  done,  it  is  very  much  to  be  feared  that  no 
cora-laws,  which  are  really  equitable,   will  ever  ap- 
pear to  the  farmer  to  give  him  sufficient  protection : 
while  the   non-agricultural   classes   will  be  but  too 
easily   persuaded,   that   they  add    exorbitantly    and 
unjustly  to  the  price   of  provisions.    The  ceaseless 
collision  of  such   opinions   will  necessarily  keep  on 
foot  hostile  and  angry  feelings,  and  be  destructive 
of  that  confidence  and  frank   co-operation  between 
the  different  orders  and  classes  of  the  community, 
without    which,    in    times    of  peril,    and    even    in 
times  of  peace,  a  state  is  shorn  of  more  than  half 
its  strength. 

But  a  fixed  and  moderate  duty  permanently  es- 
tablished', and  angry  feelings  on  the  one  side,  and 

'  It  will  again  be  remembered,   that   I    consider  the  com- 
mutation of  tithes,   and   change  of  poor-laws,    essential    preli- 

Rents.  1321 

exaggerated   fears   of  change    on    the   other,   finally    ^"""^  '; 
quelled,    the   farmer   might   once   more   begin   gra-    gcct.  s. 

dually   to   accumulate,   and   gradually   to   find   new    

modes  of  employing  fresh  quantities  of  capital.  The  England." 
consequences  of  a  diffused  and  skilful  employment 
of  such  fresh  farming  capital,  have  already  been 
pointed  out.  England  offers  still  a  large  field  for 
agricultural  enterprize  and  improvements.  The  best 
methods  of  cultivation  already  known,  extend  to  no 
great  proportion  of  her  surface ;  and  when  these 
have  been  generally  diffused,  the  career  of  the  cul- 
tivators may  still  be  for  ages  progressive.  Superior 
as  the  English  agriculture  is,  there  are  many  indi- 
cations that  it  is  still  only  approaching,  that  it  is 
far  from  having  reached,  the  term  of  its  power.  The 
introduction  of  mechanical  or  chemical  forces  which 
will  displace  much  of  the  animal  power  now  used; 
the  discovery  of  fresh  and  more  prolific  grasses  and 
vegetables  to  be  cultivated  by  the  plough  or  spade ; 
the  gradual  breaking  up  of  much  of  the  ground 
over  which  cattle  now  roam ;  the  raising  a  greater 
proportion  of  the  more  valuable  crops,  which  contri- 
bute directly  or  indirectly  to  human  subsistence; 
and  a  general  advance  in  the  efficiency  of  the  many 
aids  to  human  labor  used  by  the  husbandman; — 
these  are  all  improvements,  the  gradual  establish- 
ment  of  which   it   is   so   far   from    extravagant   to 

minaries  to  this  measure.  No  allowance  in  the  rate  of  duty 
for  those  payments,  as  they  are  at  present  assessed,  will,  I 
fear,  ever  produce  any  thing  but  dissatisfaction   in   any  class 


322  Hetits. 

Book  I.   expcct,  that  it  is  perhaps  more  like  extravagance  to 
SeX  g"    doubt  that  many  of  them  are  close  at  hand. 

One  effect  of  such  new  power  gained  by  agri- 

E^^'k^d.*^  culture,  will  unquestionably  be  the  reclaiming  and 
gradually  fertilizing  a  considerable  portion  of  the 
large  part  of  the  soil  of  the  country  which  is  now 
unproductive  :  and  while  the  grappling  with  the  wild 
land,  and  the  multiplication  of  means  and  power 
on  the  old,  are  going  on,  we  may,  judging  of  the 
future  from  the  past,  rationally  hope  that  the  power 
of  agriculture  will  be  increasing,  and  that  the  popu- 
lation of  the  country  will  be  maintained  by  the  ex- 
ertions of  a  diminished  proportion  of  its  laborious 
hands.  It  has  been  already  pointed  out,  it  is  hoped 
with  sufficient  clearness,  that  during  such  a  pro- 
gress, the  mass  of  rents  must  be  constantly  increas- 
ing. In  a  country  cultivated  by  farmers,  with  every 
forward  movement  of  the  people  in  numbers,  wealth, 
knowledge  and  skill,  the  landed  body,  borne  up  by 
the  swelling  wave,  will  be  lifted  to  a  station  in 
which  their  means  and  influence  will  be  adapted 
to  the  fresh  position  of  the  population.  The  causes 
of  this  advancement  are  deeply  seated  in  the  phy- 
sical constitution  of  the  earth.  The  funds  which 
support  it  are  injurious  to  no  class:  they  cannot  be 
destroyed  or  lessened:  their  existence  and  increase 
arc  secured  by  the  same  unfailing  laws  which  regu- 
late those  unequal  returns,  which  the  varied  surface 
of  the  earth  must  ever  make  to  the  labors  bestowed 
upon  it.  The  enduring  interests  of  the  landed  pro- 
prietors are  thus  indissolubly  bound  up  and  con- 
nected   with    the   means,    the    enterprize,   and    the 

Rents.  323 

success   of  the   agricultural  capitalists.     Temporary  Book  i. 
advantages  in   their  bargains   with   their   tenantry,  ^^* '"' 

or  in  their  arrangements  with  the  state,  are  to  them    -! 

objects  necessarily  of  inferior,  sometimes  of  only  S"**^**^ 
illusory  benefit.  The  fortunes,  the  station,  the 
comparative  influence  and  means  of  their  order,  are 
always  therefore  best  guarded  and  preserved  by 
them,  when,  keeping  aloof  from  all  that  may  em- 
broil or  hinder  the  general  progress  of  the  nation 
in  wealth  and  skill,  they  use  their  individual  in- 
fluence, and  their  political  functions,  to  promote 
such  systems  only  of  national  policy  and  finance 
as  are  just  and  moderate;  likely,  therefore,  to  be 
steady  and  durable,  and  to  leave  a  free  course  to 
those  wholesome  causes  which  promote  their  own 
peculiar  interests,  only  as  identified  vdth  those  of 
the  nation. 


The  task  of  observing  the  revenues  annually 
derived  from  the  soil  by  its  owners,  is  finished. 

We  have  marked  the  laws  which  determine  the 
amount  of  rents  under  all  their  many  forms  and 
characters.  We  have  traced  them  to  their  origin, 
in  the  early  appropriation  of  the  soil ;  in  its  power 
to  yield  more  to  the  rudest  efforts  of  man  than 
the  bare  sustenance  of  its  cultivators;  and  in  the 
necessity  which,  in  the  infancy  of  agricultural  com- 
munities, binds  the  peasant  to  the  task  of  tilling 
the  earth,  because  it  is  thus  only  that  he  can  earn 
the  food  on  which  he  is  to  exist.  We  have  fol- 
lowed them  afterwards  to  those  more  limited  spots, 

324  Rents. 

Book  I.  jn  which  an  advan'te  in   the  state  of  society,  and 
SMt  8 '   *^®  introduction  of  a  body  of  agricultural  capitalists, 

(not  necessarily  dependent  on  the  soil  for  subsist- 

Conciusion.  gjice,)  have  limited  rents  to  those  surplus  profits, 
which  can  be  realized  on  particular  spots  of  ground. 
Perhaps  this  is  the  place  to  notice  an  attempt,  which 
it  has  been  suggested  to  me  may  still  be  made,  to 
reduce  all  rents  to  rents  of  this  last  description. 
Those,  it  has  been  said,  who  maintain  that  rents 
always  consist  in  unequal  returns  to  equal  portions 
of  capital,  and  in  such  unequal  returns  alone,  may 
still  refuse  to  admit,  that  the  history  which  has 
been  given  of  the  nature  and  origin  of  peasants' 
rents,  is  any  refutation  of  their  narrow  system.  I 
should  not  have  anticipated  such  an  attempt:  but 
I  can  conceive  it  possible. 

There  often  exists  unquestionably  among  the 
labor  or  produce  rents  paid  by  every  class  of  pea- 
sant tenantry,  a  portion  of  the  payment,  which  may 
be  traced  to  the  superior  quality  of  some  parts  of  the 
soil.  The  landlord  of  a  serf  peasantry  gets  more 
labor  from  the  same  space  when  the  land  is  good, 
than  he  does  when  it  is  bad.  The  landlord  of  ryots, 
metayers,  or  cottiers,  finds  his  produce  or  money 
rents  greater  on  the  good  soils,  than  on  the  infe- 
rior. We  have  already  seen,  however,  that  such 
a  difference  has  nothing  to  do  with  the  origin,  or 
with  the  form  of  such  rents,  and  exists  as  a  quan- 
tity unknown  or  unobserved  by  those  who  pay,  or 
those  who  receive  them,  amidst  the  action  of  the 
causes  which  have  been  pointed  out  as  practically 
determining   their    variations.      There   is    one   very 

Rents.  325 

limited  and  peculiar  form  of  society,  in  which  this   ®°°*  \ 
difference  does  afford  a  correct  measure  of  the  rents    g^^.^  g  * 

paid  by  the  agricultural  capitalists,  who  constitute    

the  body  of  the  tenantry.     But,  out  of  the  peculiar  Co'''^""^"- 
rents  paid  in  these  limited  districts,  first  to   form 
a  narrow  definition  of  the  word  rent,  and  then  to 
attempt  forcibly  to  include  under  this  word,  the  pay- 
ments made  by  the  tillers  of  the  earth  over  the  whole 
of  its  surface,  is  to  attempt  to  make  the  realities  of 
things  bend  and  circumscribe  themselves  within  the 
more   manageable  but   arbitrary   compass  to  which 
we  may  wish   to   confine  our  reasonings:  it   is   to 
abandon  the  task  of  observation  by  which  our  know- 
ledge should  be  earnt,  that  we  may  create  an  un- 
real foundation  for  systems,   which,  as  far  as   they 
profess  to  be  general,  must  necessarily  be  visionary 
and   false;    which   can   be   serviceable   only  in   the 
work   of  amusing   ourselves  and    deluding    others ; 
and  must  end  in  leaving  us  ignorant  of  the  origin, 
progress,    and    effects,    of    the    relations    between 
landlord  and   tenant,   over  ninety-nine  parts   in   a 
hundred   of   the   cultivated  globe.     I  need  not,   I 
hope,  press  this  point  farther.    The  whole  of  these 
pages    present  the  proper    answer   to   such   an   at- 
tempt.     They  have    effected   little,    if  they    have 
not  shewn,  that  it  is  by  no  such  puerile  efforts  to 
make    reasoning    supply    the    place   of  knowledge, 
that  we  can  gather  practical  wisdom  from  enquiries 
into   the  economical  condition  of  the  great   family 
of  mankind. 

The  existence   of  the  revenue  which  is  derived 
from    lands    forms,   in   the  very    dawn   of  civiliza- 

326  Rents. 

Book  I.  tion,  the  most  important  element  of  its  progress, 
s^t  g"'  It  is  the  fund  from  which  communities  derive 
their  ornaments   and    their    strength.      It   supplies 

Conclusion,  g^^tes  with  leaders  in  war,  and  rulers  in  peace; 
gives  birth  to  the  useful  and  the  elegant  arts ; 
and  yields,  directly  or  indirectly,  those  means  and 
opportunities  of  leisure,  which  are  the  parents  of 
literature,  and  of  all  accumulated  and  transmitted 

If  the  existence  and  general  progress  of  rents 
is  identical  with  the  extent  and  growth  of  the 
sources  of  civilization,  their  peculiar  forms  exer- 
cise a  no  less  dominant  influence  on  all  the  most 
important  distinguishing  characteristics  of  nations, 
and  of  classes  of  nations.  Nor  is  this  the  case 
only  in  the  infancy  of  communities ;  we  have  al- 
ready seen,  that  with  the  exception  of  our  coun- 
try, and  of  one  or  two  others,  all,  even  the  lead- 
ing people  of  the  earth,  are  still  agricultural; 
that  is,  by  far  the  largest  portion  of  their  indus- 
trious population  is  employed  in  agriculture ;  and 
we  have  too,  good  reason  to  believe,  that  their 
condition  in  this  respect  will  change  slowly,  where 
it  changes  at  all.  But  among  nations  so  situated, 
(forming  the  majority  of  the  inhabitants  of  the 
world)  so  it  is,  and  ever  must  be,  that  the  pro- 
ductive powers  of  their  population,  their  joint  wealth 
and  strength,  the  elements  of  most  of  their  poli- 
tical institutions,  and  of  many  of  their  moral  cha- 
racteristics, can  only  be  understood  and  weighed, 
after  a  thorough  investigation  into  the  habits,  the 
ties,   the  relations,  the  revenues,  to  which   the  oc- 

Rents.  327 

cupation  of  the  land  they  exist  on  has  given  birth,   Book  i. 
and   which   it   continues  to  maintain.     It   is  from    J''^'  I"' 

beet.  8. 

such  an  investigation  alone  therefore,  that  we  must    

acquire  the  power  of  estimating  the  actual  condi-  Conclusion. 
tion,  or  of  judging  of  the  future  prospects,  of  the 
majority  of  our  fellow  men. 

Of  the  great  leading  divisions,  which  separate 
the  agricultural  nations  of  the  earth  into  distinct 
masses,  I  have  attempted  to  draw  a  distinct  out- 
line. There  are,  however,  probably,  within  the 
limits  of  each  division,  instances  of  exceptions  and 
modifications,  which  may  have  escaped  my  notice, 
and  which  exercise  some  influence  over  the  circum- 
stances and  institutions  of  individual  communities. 
If  I  should  succeed  in  directing  the  attention  of 
others  to  the  points  which  I  have  pointed  out  as 
important  in  the  tenures  and  habits  of  agricultural 
nations,  some  account  of  those  modifications  will 
probably  be  hereafter  supplied.  In  the  mean  time, 
as  I  am  conscious  that  the  wide  outline  I  have 
drawn,  and  such  details  as  I  have  introduced,  are 
faithful  and  impartial,  I  cannot  and  do  not 
doubt,  that  the  progressive  supply  of  detailed  in- 
formation, will  confirm  the  principles  which  I  have 
pointed  out,  v/hile  it  may  probably  modify  and 
correct,  to  some  extent,  their  local  application. 

The  rents  paid  by  the  smallest,  but  to  us  the 
most  interesting  class  of  tenantry,  agricultural 
capitalists,  or  farmers,  I  have  treated  with  Mr. 
Malthus  and  others,  simply  as  surplus  profits. 
The  view,  however,  taken  here  of  the  different 
modes  by  which  these  surplus  profits  may  increase 


328  Rents. 

Book  I-    and    accumulate   on   the    soil,    is,    I   believe,   new. 

Secu  T.  Certainly  it  is  cheering,  and  strips  away  at  once 
all  that  was  harsh  and  repulsive,  in  the  false 
aspect  lately  so  laboriously  given  to  the  causes  and 
sources  of  increase  in  this  class  of  rents. 

During  the  progress  of  the  whole  subject,  ab- 
stracting from  all  difference  in  the  forms  of  rents, 
and  in  the  character  and  the  relations  between 
the  cultivators  and  proprietors,  one  great  truth  has 
been  placed,  it  is  hoped,  on  the  secure  foundation 
of  a  patient  and  copious  induction.  I  have  had 
pleasure  in  introducing  the  evidence  of  it  wherever 
it  has  occurred,  and  I  shall  conclude  with  it.  In 
no  one  position  of  society^  during  no  one  period 
of  the  progress  of  civilization^  do  the  real  interests 
of  the  proprietors  of  the  soil  cease  to  he  identical 
with  those  of  the  cultivators,  and  of  the  commu- 
nity to  which  they  both  belong.  But  even  this 
truth  itself,  if  the  views  which  I  have,  with  some 
labor,  arrived  at,  do  not  deceive  me,  will,  in  the 
future  progress  of  our  subject,  appear  to  be  in- 
cluded in  one  yet  more  cheering,  because  more 
comprehensive ;  namely, — that  all  systems  are  essen- 
tially false  and  delusive,  which  suppose  that  the 
permanent  gain  and  advantage  of  any  one  class 
of  the  community,  can  be  fouuded  on  the  loss  of 
another  class:  because  the  same  providence  which 
has  knit  together  the  affections  and  sympathies  of 
mankind,  by  so  many  common  principles  of  action, 
and  sources  of  happiness,  has,  in  perfect  consist- 
ency with  its  own  purposes,  so  arranged  the  econo- 
mical  laws    which    determine  the    social   condition 

Rents.  3iJ9 

of  the  various  classes  of  communities  of  men,  as  ^"^"^  ^ 
to  make  the  permanent  and  progressive  prosperity  j^ct. «" 
of  each,   essentially  dependent  on  the   common  ad- 

advance   of  all.  conclusion. 

Note.  It  has  been  suggested'  to  me,  that  I  have  hardly 
dwelt  enough  on  the  possibility  of  confounding  the  character 
of  the  Ryots  as  tenants,  and  their  claims  as  hereditary  occu- 
piers of  the  soil.  I  have  adtled  a  note,  VIII.  in  the  Ap- 
pendix, in  which  this  point  is  considered,  with  a  particular 
reference  to  Col.  Tod's  late  work  on  Rajast'han. 




Note  to  Preface,  p.  xx. 

Herschel  on  the  Study  of  Natural  Philosophy.    Lard- 

ner's  Cabinet  Cydopcedia,  No.  14,  p.  67 We  have  thus 

pointed  out    to   us,    as   the  great,  and    indeed    only  ulti- 
mate   source   of  our    knowledge   of  nature  and   its   laws, 
EXPERIENCE ;  by  which   we  mean,  not  the  experience   of 
one   man   only,    or   of  one   generation,    but   the   accumu- 
lated experience   of  all   mankind    in    all    ages,   registered 
in     books     or    recorded    by    tradition.       But    experience 
may  be   acquired   in   two  ways :   either,  first,  by  noticing 
facts    as   they    occur,    without   any    attempt    to    influence 
the   frequency    of  their    occurrence,    or   to   vary    the   cir- 
cumstances   under    which    they   occur;     this    is    ouserva- 
TiON :  or,  secondly,  by  putting  in  action  causes  and  agents 
over  which  we  have  control,  and  purposely  varying  their 
combinations,   and   noticing  what  effects  take  place ;  this 
is  EXPERIMENT.      To  thcsc  two  sourccs  we  must  look  as 
the  fountains  of  all  natural  science.     It  is  not   intended, 
however,  by   thus   distinguishing    observation   from   expe- 
riment, to  place  them  in  any  kind  of  contrast.     Essentially 
they  are  much  alike,  and  differ  rather  in  degree  than  in 
kind ;   so  that,  perhaps,  the  terms  passive  and  active  ob- 
servation might   better   express    their   distinction ;  but   it 
is,  nevertheless,  highly   important    to   mark    the  different 
states  of  mind  in  inquiries  carried  on  by  their  respective 
aids,  as   well  as  their  different  effects   in  promoting   the 
progress  of  science.     In  the  former,  we  sit  still  and  listen 
to  a  tale,  told  us,  perhaps  obscurely,  piecemeal,  and   at 
long  intervals  of  time,   with  our    attention  more   or   less 
awake.     It   is    only  by    after-rumination    that    we   gather 


A  P  1'  K  N  U  1  X . 

its  full  import;  and  often,  when  the  opportunity  is  gone 
by,  we  have  to  regret  that  our  attention  was  not  more 
particularly  directed  to  some  point  which,  at  the  time, 
appeared  of  little  moment,  but  of  which  we  at  length 
appreciate  the  importance.  In  the  latter,  on  the  other 
hand,  we  cross-examine  our  witness,  and  by  comparing 
one  part  of  his  evidence  with  the  other,  while  he  is  yet 
before  us,  and  reasoning  upon  it  in  his  presence,  are 
enabled  to  put  pointed  and  searching  questions,  the  answer 
to  which  may  at  once  enable  us  to  make  up  our  minds. 
Accordingly  it  has  been  found  invariably,  that  in  those 
departments  of  physics  where  the  phenomena  ai'e  beyond 
our  control,  or  into  which  experimental  enquiry,  from 
other  causes,  has  not  been  carried,  the  progress  of  know- 
ledge has  been  slow,  uncertain,  and  irregular ;  while  in 
such  as  admit  of  experiment,  and  in  which  mankind  have 
agreed  to  its  adoption,  it  has  been  rapid,   sure,  and  steady 

Pasre  6. 


Narrative  of  a  visit  to  Brazil,  Chili,  Peru  and  the 
Sandwich  Islands,  during  the  Years  1821  and  1822,  by 
Charles  Farquhar  Mathison,  Esq.  p.  449-  —  The  King 
then  is  a  complete  autocrat — all  power,  all  property,  all 
persons  are  at  his  disposal :  the  chiefs  receive  grants  of 
land  from  him,  which  they  divide  and  let  out  again  in 
lots  to  their  dependants,  who  cultivate  it  for  the  use  of 
the  chief,  reserving  a  portion  for  their  own  subsistente. 
The  cultivators  are  not  paid  for  their  labour,  nor,  on 
the  other  hand,  do  they  pay  a  regular  rent  for  the 
land.  They  are  expected  to  send  presents  of  pigs, 
poultry,  tarrow,  and  other  provisions,  to  the  chief, 
from  time  to  time,  together  with  any  little  sums  of 
money  which  they  may  have  acquired  in  trade,  or  any 
other     property    which    it    may    suit    the    fancy    or    the 

APPENDIX.  (;j) 

convenience  of   the   great   man    to   take.     This   arbitrary 
system  is  a  sad  hindrance  to  the  prosperity  of  the  tenant ; 
for   if  he    is   disposed    to   be   industrious,   and    bring   his 
land  into  good  cultivation,  or  raise  a  good   breed  of  live 
stock,  and  becomes  rich  in   possessions,  the  chief  is  soon 
informed  of  it,    and   the  property  is  seized  for   his   use, 
whils.t  the  farmer  loses  the  fruit  of  all  his  labours.     This 
state  of  things,   as  between  the   King  and  his  chiefs,  is 
little  more   than   theoretical;    but  as    between    the    chiefs 
and  their  dependants,  it  exists  mischievously  in  practice: 
hence  the  great  stimulus  to  industry  being  removed,  the 
people  live  and   vegetate,    without  making  any    exertions 
beyond  what  the  command  of  the  chief  and  the  care  of 
their  own   subsistence  force  upon   them.     One   day  in    a 
week,  or  a  fortnight,  as  occasion  may  require,  the  tenants 
are  required  to  work  upon  the  private  estate  of  the  chief. 
I  have  seen  hundreds — men,  women,  and  children,  at  once 
employed  in  this  way  on  the  tarrow  plantations :  all  hands 
turn   out,  for  they  assist  each  other  in  a  body,  and  thus 
get  through  the  work   with  greater  expedition  and  ease. 
When    a   kanaka,    or  tenant,    refuses    to  obey    the   order 
of  his  chief,   the  most   severe    and  summary    punishment 
is  inflicted  on  him,  namely,  confiscation  of  his  property. 
An   instance   in   point    happened   to    occur    while    I    was 
staying  at  Why-aronah.     Coxe  had  given  orders  to  some 
hundreds   of  his   people    to   repair   to    the    woods   by   an 
appointed  day   to   cut    sandal -wood.     The   whole   obeyed 
except    one   man    who    had    the    folly    and   hardihood   to 
refuse.     Upon  this,  his  house  was  set  fire  to,  and  burnt 
to  the  ground  on   the   very   day :   still  he  refused  to  go. 
The  next  process  was  to  seize  his  possessions,  and  turn 
his  wife  and  family  off  the  estate ;  which  would  inevitably 
have  been  done,  if  he  had  not  allowed  discretion  to  take 
the  place  of  valour,  and  made   a   timely    submission,    to 
prevent    this    extremity.     It   has   been   before    said,    that 
no  compensation  is  made  to  the  labourers  for  their  work, 
except  a  small  grant   of  land.     This,  however,  does  not 

(6)  Al'PEN'JilX. 

prevent  the  chief,  if  kindly  disposed,  from  distributing 
supplies  of  maros,  tappers,  cloth,  &c.  gratuitously  among 
them.  I  have  heard  that  Krimakoo  once  distributed 
no  less  than  three  thousand  blankets  among  his  people. 
The  King  exercises  absolute  dominion  over  the  sea  as  well 
as  over  the  land  ;  and  in  the  same  way  lets  out  the  right  of 
fishery  along  the  coast  to  his  chiefs. 

'  Ibid.  p.  382. — At  six  o'clock  we  reached  a  small  village 
about  a  mile  from  the  sea-shore,  and  easily  obtained  a 
tolerable  hut  to  pass  the  night  in :  it  belonged  to  an 
English  sailor,  who  had  established  himself  here.  He 
received  us  with  great  civility,  and  killed  a  pig  for  our 
supper,  which,  when  baked,  together  with  tarrow-root, 
furnished  a  very  excellent  repast. 

Ibid.  p.  383. — The  English  sailor  informed  me  that  all 
the  land  in  his  neighbourhood  belonged  to  Krimakoo,  the 
King's  Minister,  familiarly  called  Billy  Pitt,  who  had  given 
him  sixty  acres.  On  part  of  this  he  made  a  tarrow-planta- 
tion,  which  afforded  the  means  of  living ;  but  the  rest,  he 
said,  was  useless.  He  seemed  wretchedly  poor;  wore  an 
old  shirt  and  trowsers,  more  ragged  and  dirty  than  can  be 
well  conceived,  and  was  so  disfigured  by  a  thick  black 
beard  of  several  weeks  growth,  that  he  was  really  far  more 
savage  looking  than  any  of  the  islanders. 

Without  placing  much  dependence  upon  the  statement 
of  this  poor  fellow,  I  was  still  interested  by  what  he  told 
me,  and  pitied  the  abject  condition  of  dependence  upon 
savages,  to  which  he  was  now  reduced.  Among  other 
causes  of  complaint,  he  inveighed  bitterly  and  with  truth 
against  the  tyranny  of  the  chiefs,  who  claim  a  right  to 
possess  all  private  property  which  is  acquired  upon  their 
estates,  and  seize  every  thing  belonging  to  the  poorer 
classes  for  which  they  feel  an  inclination.  He  said  that 
whenever  an  industrious  person  brought  more  land  into 
cultivation  than  was  necessary  for  his  subsistence,  or  reared 
a  good  breed  of  pigs  and  poultry,  the  chief,  on  hearing  of 


it,  had  no  hesitation  in  making  the  property  his  own. 
This  takes  place,  independent  of  the  customary  presents 
and  tribute ;  even  every  dollar  obtained  by  traffic  with 
strangers  must  be  given  up,  on  pain  of  the  chiefs  dis- 
pleasure. Europeans  are  subject  to  the  same  oppression . 
and  from  this  general  insecurity  of  private  property,  arises 
in  a  great  degree  the  absence  of  much  industry  or  improve- 
ment, both  among  them  and  the  native  peasantry. 

Ibid.  p.  412 On  the  evening  of  the  same  day,  I  bade 

adieu  to  Governor  Coxe,  as  he  was  styled,  and  went  to 
visit  an  American  sailor,  who  had  been  established  upwards 
of  five  years  in  this  island,  and  cultivated  a  small  farm  be- 
longing to  that  chief.  His  property  consisted  of  a  few 
acres  of  tarrow-plantations,  in  the  midst  of  a  fine  orchard 
of  bread-fruit  and  other  trees,  with  pasturage  for  a  large 
herd  of  goats ;  and  these,  in  addition  to  some  pigs  and 
poultry,  rendered  him  rich  in  the  eyes  of  all  his  neighbours. 
His  cottage  was  well  built,  and  being  furnished  with  mat- 
ting, we  passed  the  night  very  comfortably  in  it.  He  liked 
his  situation  altogether,  and  thought  it  very  preferable  to 
a  seaman's  life ;  but  complained,  nevertheless,  of  the  in- 
secure tenure  by  which  property  is  held  in  this  country. 
He  told  me,  as  others  had  done,  that  he  was  afraid  of 
making  any  improvements,  and  putting  more  land  into 
cultivation,  lest  his  prosperity  should  excite  the  cupidity 
of  the  chief,  who  would  not  hesitate,  if  he  chose  it,  to 
appropriate  the  whole  to  himself.  As  it  was,  he  had  to 
bear  every  sort  of  petty  exaction,  according  to  the  caprices 
of  the  chief,  on  the  instigations  of  his  advisers,  and  only 
retained  possession  of  his  property  by  acceding  to  every 
demand,  and  propitiating  with  continual  presents,  the 
favour  of  the  great  man. 

Ibid.  p.  427 — Menini  was  supposed  to  be  worth  thirty 
or  forty  thousand  dollars,  amassed  during  a  residence  of 
thirty  years  in  the  country:  but  he  held  his  property  by 


rather  a  feeble  tenure,  namely,  the  King's  good  will  and 
pleasure;  and  might  at  any  moment  be  deprived  of  it, 
without  the  possibility  of  obtaining  redress. 

II.  Page  10. 

Emigration  Report  of  June  1827,  p.  397- — Are  you 
aware  of  the  terms  upon  which  land  is  now  granted  to 
settlers  in  the  colony  of  New  South  Wales .'' — I  under- 
stand there  has  been  an  alteration  lately ;  that  alteration 
I  am  not  aware  of. 

The  present  system  is,  that  a  price  is  placed  upon  the 
land  as  wild  land ;  for  example,  200,000  acres  would  be 
valued  at  18d.  an  acre,  that  would  make  the  total  grant  of 
the  value  of  £  15,000. ;  then,  upon  that  <£  15,000.,  five  per 
cent,  would  be  charged  at  the  end  of  seven  years,  redeem- 
able at  any  time  at. a  certain  number  of  years'  purchase; 
consequently,  for  such  a  grant  as  you  contemplate,  a  rent 
of  £,150.  a  year  would  be  demanded,  which  rent  would 
be  redeemable  at  any  time  by  payment  of  the  capital  of 
£  15,000. ;  at  the  same  time,  it  is  not  the  custom  to  make 
grants  larger  than    10,000  acres. 

III.  Page  21. 

Travels  from  Vienna  through  Lower  Hungary,  by 
Richard  Bright,  M.D.  p.  114. — But,  if  the  landlord  have 
reason  to  be  little  satisfied,  still  less  can  the  peasant  be  sup- 
posed to  rejoice  in  his  situation.  It  can  never  be  well,  to 
make  the  great  and  actually  necessary  part  of  society, — the 
labouring  class, — dependant  on  the  chances  of  a  good  or  bad 
harvest  for  its  existence.  A  man  of  capital  can  bear,  for 
a  year  or  two  years,  the  failure  of  his  crops ;  but,  let  a  cold 
east  wind  blow  for  one  night, — let  a  hail  storm  descend, — 
or  let  a  river  overflow  its  banks, — and  the  peasant,  who  has 
nothing  but  his  field,  starves  or  becomes  a  burthen  to 
his  Lord.     Of  this  I  have  seen  actual   proof,   not   only 


in  the  wine  districts  of  Hungary,  in  which  the  uncer- 
tainty of  the  crop  is  extreme,  but  in  some  of  its  richest 
plains,  where  I  have  known  the  peasantry,  full  three 
months  before  gathering  in,  humbly  supplicating  the 
landlords  to  advance  them  corn  on  the  faith  of  the  coming 
harvest.  These  are  evils  always  liable  to  occur,  sup- 
posing the  peasant  were  allowed  to  cultivate  his  lands 
without  interruption.  But  is  this  the  case.''  The  Lord 
can  legally  claim  only  one  hundred  and  four  days'  labour 
from  each  in  the  year;  yet  who  can  restrain  him  if  he 
demand  more .''  There  are  a  multiplicity  of  pretexts 
under  which  he  can  make  such  demands,  and  be  sup- 
ported in  them.  The  administration  of  justice  is,  in 
a  great  degree,  vested  in  his  own  hands.  There  are 
many  little  faults  for  which  a  peasant  becomes  liable  to 
be  punished  with  blows  and  fines,  but  which  he  is  often 
permitted  to  commute  for  labour.  In  fact,  these  things 
happen  so  frequently,  and  other  extorted  days  of  labour 
which  the  peasant  fears  to  refuse,  occur  so  often,  that 
I  remember,  when  in  conversation  with  a  very  intelli- 
gent Director,  I  was  estimating  the  labour  of  each  pea- 
sant at  104  days, — he  immediately  corrected  me,  and  said 
I  might  double  it.  If,  however,  the  Lord,  or  his  head 
servants,  have  too  much  feeling  of  propriety  to  trans- 
gress against  the  strictness  of  the  law,  they  can  at  any 
time  call  upon  the  peasants  to  serve  them  for  pay ;  and 
that,  not  at  the  usual  wages  of  a  servant,  but  about 
one-third  as  much,  according  to  an  assessed  rate  of  labour. 
Add  to  all  this,  the  services  due  to  the  government, — 
remember,  too,  that  cases  occur  in  which  a  peasant  is 
obliged  to  be  six  weeks  from  his  home,  with  his  horses 
and  cart,  carrying  imperial  stores  to  the  frontier, — and 
then  judge  whether  he  is  permitted  to  cultivate,  without 
interruption,  the  land  which  he  receives,  as  the  only 
return   for   his    labour. 

(10)  APPENDIX. 

IV.      Page  85. 

Burners  View  of  thePresent  State  of  Polafid^  p.  85. — 
When  a  young  peasant  marries,  his  lord  assigns  him 
a  certain  quantity  of  land,  sufficient  for  the  maintenance  of 
himself  and  family  in  the  poor  manner  in  which  they  are 
accustomed  to  live.  Should  the  family  be  numerous,  some 
little  addition  is  made  to  the  grant.  At  the  sanie  time,  the 
young  couple  obtain  also  a  few  cattle,  as  a  cow  or  two, 
with  steers  to  plow  their  land.  These  are  fed  in  the 
stubble,  or  in  the  open  places  of  the  woods,  as  the  season 
admits.  The  master  also  provides  them  with  a  cottage, 
with  implements  of  husbandry,  in  short,  with  all  their  little 
moveable  property.  In  consideration  of  these  grants,  the 
peasant  is  obliged  to  make  a  return  to  the  landholder  of  one 
half  of  his  labour ;  that  is,  he  works  three  days  in  the 
week  for  his  lord,  and  three  for  himself.  If  any  of  his 
cattle  die,  they  are  replaced  by  the  master ;  a  circumstance 
which  renders  him  ncffliffent  of  his  little  herd,  as  the  death 
or  loss  of  some  of  them  is  a  frequent  occurrence.  Wlien 
a  farmer  rents  a  farm,  the  villages  situated  on  it,  with  their 
inhabitants,  are  considered  as  included  in  the  contract ; 
and  the  farmer  derives  a  right  to  the  same  proportion  of 
the  labour  of  the  peasants  for  the  cultivation  of  that  farm, 
as  by  the  condition  of  their  tenure  they  are  bound  to  yield 
the  lord.  If  an  estate  be  sold,  the  peasants  are  likewise 
transferred,  of  course,  with  the  soil,  to  a  new  master,  sub- 
ject to  the  same  conditions  as  before.  The  Polish  boors, 
therefore,  are  still  slaves ;  and  relatively  to  their  political 
existence,  absolutely  subject  to  the  will  of  their  lords,  as  in 
all  the  barbarism  of  the  feudal  times.  They  are  not  pri- 
vileged to  quit  the  soil,  except  in  a  few  instances  of  com- 
plete enfranchisement;  and  if  they  were,  the  privilege,  for 
the  most  part,  would  be  merely  nominal :  for  whither 
should  they  go  .''  They  may  retire,  indeed,  into  the  re- 
cesses of  the  forest,  where  it  is  possible  they  may  not  be 
traced ;  and  it  is  probable,  that  in  times  past  many  re- 
sorted to  this  expedient   to  escape  from  the  cruelties  of  a 

A  P  P  K  N  D  I  X  . 


tyrannical  master.  To  fly  from  a  mild  master  would  be 
obviously  against  their  interest.  To  quit  the  territory  of 
one  grandee  for  that  of  another,  must  commonly,  if  not 
always,  have  been  impracticable :  for  what  landholder 
would  choose  to  admit  a  fugitive  peasant,  and  thus  en- 
courage a  spirit  of  revolt  ?  Again,  it  is  not  in  their  power, 
from  the  circumstances  of  their  condition,  to  sell  their 
labour  indifferently  to  this  or  that  master ;  and  if  such  ob- 
stacles did  not  oppose,  the  very  extent  of  the  Polish  farms, 
and  the  consequent  want  of  a  second  contiguous  employer, 
would  suffice  in  most  cases  to  preclude  a  change  of  masters. 
It  is  said  that  a  few  of  the  peasants  improve  the  little 
stock  which  is  committed  to  their  management,  accumu- 
lating some  small  property  ;  but  their  conduct  is  far  more 
frequently  marked  by  carelessness  and  a  want  of  forecast. 
Instances,  however,  of  this  accumulation,  begin  to  multiply  : 
for  one  effect  of  the  partition  has  been,  that  the  peasants 
are  less  liable  to  be  plundered.  Generally  speaking,  it 
does  not  appear  that  this  allowance  of  land  and  cattle  either 
is,  or  designed  to  be,  more  than  enough  for  their  scanty 
maintenance.  I  was  once  on  a  short  journey  with  a  noble- 
man, when  we  stopped  to  bait  at  the  farm-house  of  a  village, 
which  I  have  before  mentioned  as  a  common  custom  in 
Poland.  The  peasants  got  intelligence  of  the  presence  of 
their  lord,  and  assembled  in  a  body  of  twenty  or  thirty,  to 
prefer  a  petition  to  him.  I  was  never  more  struck  with 
the  appearance  of  these  poor  wretches,  and  the  contrast  of 
their  condition  with  that  of  their  master.  I  stood  at  a  dist- 
ance, and  perceived  that  he  did  not  yield  to  their  supplica- 
tion. When  he  had  dismissed  them,  I  had  the  curiosity  to 
enquire  the  object  of  their  petition;  and  he  replied,  that 
they  had  begged  for  an  increased  allowance  of  land,  on  the 
plea  that  what  they  had  was  insufficient  for  their  support. 
He  added,  "  I  did  not  grant  it  them,  because  their  present 
allotment  is  the  usual  quantity ;  and  as  it  has  sufficed 
hitherto,  so  it  will  for  the  time  to  come.  Besides,  (said 
he,)  if  I  give  them  more,  I  well  know  that  it  will  not,  in 
reality,  better  their  circumstances." 

(12)  AVPKNDIX. 

Poland  does  not  furnish  a  man  of  more  humanity  than 
the  one  who  rejected  this  apparently  reasonable  petition  ; 
but  it  must  be  allowed  that  he  had  good  reasons  for  what 
he  did.  Those  degraded  and  wretched  beings,  instead  of 
hoarding  the  small  surplus  of  their  absolute  necessities,  are 
almost  universally  accustomed  to  expend  it  in  that  abomi- 
nable spirit,  which  they  call  schnaps.  It  is  incredible  what 
quantities  of  this  pernicious  liquor  are  drunk,  both  by  the 
peasant  men  and  women.  I  have  been  told,  that  a  woman 
will  frequently  drink  a  pint,  and  even  more,  at  a  sitting, 
and  that  too  in  no  great  length  of  time.  I  have  myself 
often  seen  one  of  these  poor  women  led  home  between 
two  men,  so  intoxicated  as  to  be  unable  to  stand.  There 
can  be  no  question,  that  the  excessive  use  of  this  whiskey 
(were  it  not  to  libel  whiskey  thus  to  style  it)  ought  to  be 
enumerated  among  the  chief  proximate  causes  of  the  defi- 
cient population  of  Poland.  It  is  indeed  so  considered  by 
the  Poles ;  and  the  Count  Zamoyski  has  lately  established 
a  porter  brewery  in  Galitzia,  in  the  hope  of  checking 
eventually  so  hurtful  a  habit,  by  the  substitution  of  that 
wholesome  beverage. 

The  first  time  I  saw  any  of  these  withered  creatures, 
was  at  Dantzic.  I  was  prepared,  by  printed  accounts,  to 
expect  a  sight  of  singular  wretchedness ;  but  I  shrunk  in- 
voluntarily from  the  contemplation  of  the  reality ;  and  my 
feelings  could  not  be  consoled  by  the  instantaneous  and 
inevitable  reflection,  that  I  was  then  in  a  region  which 
contains  millions  of  miserable  beings  of  the  description  of 
those  before  me.  Some  involuntary  exclamation  of  sur- 
prize mixed  with  compassion  escaped  me.  A  thoughtless 
and  a  feelingless  person  (which  are  about  the  same  things) 
was  standing  by.  "  Oh  sir !  (says  he)  you  will  find  plenty 
of  such  people  as  these  in  Poland ;  and  you  may  strike 
them  and  kick  them,  or  do  what  you  please  with  them,  and 
they  will  never  resist  you  ;  they  dare  not."  Thus,  this 
gentleman,  by  the  manner  in  which  he  spoke,  seemed  to 
think  it  a  sort  of  privilege,  that  they  had  among  them  a  set 

APPENDIX.  (13) 

of  beings  on  whom  they  may  vent  with  impunity  the  ex- 
uberance of  their  spite,  and  gratify  every  fitful  burst  of 
capricious  passion.  Far  be  it  from  me,  to  ascribe  the  feel- 
ing's of  this  man  to  the  more  cultivated  and  humanized 
Poles;  but  such  incidental  and  thoughtless  expressions 
betray  but  too  sensibly  the  general  state  of  feeling  which 
exists  in  regard  to  these  oppressed  men. 

Some  few  of  the  boors  are  found  about  every  large 
mansion.  They  are  employed  by  the  domestics  in  the  most 
dirty  menial  offices.  These  have  never  any  beds  (however 
mean)  provided  them ;  so  that  in  the  summer-nights,  they 
sleep  like  dogs,  in  any  hole  or  corner  they  can  find,  always 
without  undressing.  But  the  winter's  cold  drives  them 
into  the  hall,  where  they  commonly  crouch  close  to  the 
stoves  which  are  stationed  there.  H^re,  too,  several  of  the 
domestics  spread  their  pallets,  and  take  up  their  night's 
abode.  Frequently,  as  I  have  retired  to  my  room  after 
supper,  I  have  stumbled  over  a  boor  sleeping  at  the  foot  of 
the  stairs — a  curious  and  a  melancholy  spectacle !  to  see 
these  poor  creatures,  in  all  their  unmitigated  wretchedness, 
lodging  in  the  halls  of  palaces  ! 

In  giving  orders  or  directions  of  any  sort  to  these 
torpid  beings,  though  the  sentiment  of  the  speaker  be  not 
disgraced  by  the  slightest  admixture  of  unkind  feeling,  it 
is  customary  to  address  them  in  a  certain  smart  and  striking 
manner ;  as  if  to  stimulate  their  stupid  senses  into  sufficient 
action  to  prompt  the  performance  of  the  most  ordinary 
offices.  There  is  no  circumstance  more  deplorable  in  sla- 
very than  that  dead-palsy  of  the  faculties,  which  bereaves 
its  possessor  even  of  the  comfort  of  hope ;  or  capacitates 
him  only  to  hope  that  he  may  live  without  torment,  and 
mope  out  his  existence  in  joyless  apathy  !  If  to  a  conti- 
guous person  you  give  utterance  to  any  compassionating 
remark,  you  are  commonly  answered  with  the  most  in- 
different air  imaginable,  "  It  is  very  true ;  but  they  are 
used  to  it ;"  something  in  the  same  way,  I  have  thought, 
as  eels  are  used  to  skinning  alive. 

(14)  A  I'I'K  N  l>  I  \. 

Ibid.   p.  84 Their   diet    is    very    scanty;    they   have 

rarely  any  animal  food.  Even  at  the  inns,  in  tiie  inte- 
rior of  Poland,  which  are  not  situated  in  a  pretty  good 
town,  scarcely  any  thing  is  to  be  procured.  Their  best 
things  are  their  milk  and  poor  cheese,  were  they  in  suffi- 
cient abundance ;  but  the  principal  article  of  their  diet  is 
their  coarse  rye-bread  above  mentioned,  and  which  I  have 
sometimes  attempted  in  vain  to  swallow. 

Ibid.  p.  102 Till  the  reign  of  Casimir  the  Great,  about 

the  middle  of  the  fourteenth  century,  the  Polish  nobles  ex- 
ercised over  their  peasants  the  uncontrouled  power  of  life 
and  death.  No  magistrate,  not  even  the  King  himself,  had 
authority  to  punish  or  restrain  barbarities  which  outraged 
humanity.  If  an  act  of  brutal  cruelty  were  committed  by 
one  grandee  on  the  slave  of  another,  he  was  then  liable  to 
be  called  to  an  account  by  the  possessor,  as  the  violator  of 
his  property,  not  as  the  perpetrator  of  crime.  This  barba- 
rous power  in  the  nobles  over  the  condition  and  lives  of  the 
boors,  even  Casimir  was  forced  to  recognize  in  the  year  1366. 
Yet  Casimir  had  a  soul  which  felt  for  their  hard  lot,  and 
he  earnestly  endeavoured  to  mitigate  its  severity.  The  pea- 
sants, finding  him  their  friend,  would  often  go  to  him  with 
complaints  of  the  injuries  they  received.  "  What !  (says 
he  with  indignation  on  these  occasions)  have  you  neither 
stones  nor  bludgeons  with  which  to  defend  yourselves  .f*" 

Casimir  was  the  first  who  ventured  to  prescribe  a  fine 
for  the  murder  of  a  peasant.  And,  as  it  had  been  the 
custom,  on  the  death  of  a  peasant,  for  the  master  to  seize 
his  trifling  effects,  he  also  enacted,  that  on  his  decease  his 
next  heir  .should  inherit ;  and  that  if  his  master  should 
plunder  him,  or  dishonour  his  wife  or  daughter,  he  should 
be  permitted  to  remove  whithersoever  he  pleased.  He  even 
decreed,  that  a  peasant  should  be  privileged  to  bear  arms 
as  a  soldier,  and  be  considered  as  a  freeman. 

These  humane  regulations,  however,  were  ill  observed 
in  the  sequel ;   for  of  what  avail  arc  laws,  if  authority  hi' 

APPENDIX.  (15) 

wantinjr  to  enforce  obedience  P     There  is  an  ancient  Polish 
maxim,    "  That  no  slave  can  carry  on  any  process  against 
his  master ;"  and  hence  the  law  regarding  the  inheritance 
of  property  was  rendered  nugatory.      Nor  could  the  fine 
for  murder  be  often  levied,  by  reason  of  the  accumulation 
of  evidence  required  for  the  conviction  of  a  noble.      Yet 
these  were  the  only  attempts  to  better  the  condition  of  the 
boors,  till  the  year    1768,  when  a  decree  passed  by  which 
the  murder  of  a  peasant  was  rendered  a  capital  crime.     But 
even  this  enactment  was  a  mere  mockery  of  justice:  for  to 
prove  the  fact  of  murder,   a  concurrence  of  circumstances 
was  made  necessary,   which  could  rarely  have  been  found 
to  co-exist.     The  murderer  was  not  only  to  be  taken  in 
the  fact !  but  that  fact  was  required  to  be  proved  by  the 
testimony  of  two  gentlemen,  or  four  peasants  !     These  in- 
significant   edicts,    rendered   inefficient   by   the   power   of 
custom,  were  not  the  only  obstacles  to  the  elevation  of  the 
peasantry  to  the  rank  of  men.     There  existed,  in  the  Polish 
laws,  numerous  and  positive  ordinances,  as  though  expressly 
designed  to  perpetuate  slavery.      Among  these,   the  most 
oppressive  seems  to  have  been  that  which  empowered  the 
nobles  to  erect  summary  tribunals,  subject  to  no  appeals, 
by  which  they  inflicted  whatever    penalties  they  thought 
proper  on  delinquents,  or  those  whom  they  chose  to  con- 
sider as  delinquents.      The  penalties  for  elopement  from 
their  villages  were  peculiarly  severe ;   which  proves  at  once 
the  grievousness  of  their  oppression,  and  the  existence  of 
frequent  attempts  to  escape. 

Ibib.  p.  110. — Whoever  casts  his  eye  but  for  a  moment 
on  the  miserable  boors  of  Poland,  will  instantly  feel,  that 
ages  must  elapse  before  they  can  be  raised  to  the  rank  of 
civilized  beings.  If  met  in  the  winter's  snow,  they  appear 
like  herds  of  savage  beasts  rather  than  companies  of  men ; 
but  with  the  melancholy  difference  of  being  totally  desti- 
tute of  that  wild  activity  which  characterises  savage  nature. 
Their  coarse  mantles ;    their    shrunk  and  squalid    forms : 

(16)  APPENDIX. 

their  dirty,  matted  hair;  their  dull,  moping  looks,  and 
lifeless  movements;  all  combine  to  form  an  image  which 
sickens  humanity,  and  makes  the  heart  recoil  even  from 
its  own  horrid  sympathy  ! 

Ibid.  p.  105. — Some  endeavours  have  been  likewise 
made  by  individuals  to  abolish  the  slavery  of  the  boors. 
In  the  year  176O,  the  Chancellor  Zamoyski  enfranchised  six 
villages  in  the  palatinate  of  Masovia.  This  experiment  has 
been  much  vaunted  by  Mr.  Coxe  as  having  been  attended 
with  all  the  good  effects  desired;  and  he  asserts  that  the 
Chancellor  had,  in  consequence,  enfranchised  the  peasants 
on  all  his  estates.  Both  of  these  assertions  are  false.  I  en- 
quired particularly  of  the  son,  the  present  Count  Zamoyski, 
respecting  those  six  villages,  and  was  grieved  to  learn,  that 
the  experiment  had  completely  failed.  The  Count  said, 
that  within  a  few  years  he  had  sold  the  estate,  as  it  was 
situated  in  the  Prussian  division,  with  which  he  had  now 
no  concern.  He  added,  I  was  also  glad  to  get  rid  of  it, 
from  the  trouble  the  peasants  gave  me.  These  degraded 
beings,  on  receiving  their  freedom,  were  overjoyed,  it  seems, 
at  they  knew  not  what.  Having  no  distinct  comprehension 
of  what  freedom  meant,  but  merely  a  rude  notion  that  they 
may  now  do  what  they  liked,  they  ran  into  every  species 
of  excess  and  extravagance  which  their  circumstances  ad- 
mitted. Drunkenness,  instead  of  being  occasional,  became 
almost  perpetual ;  riot  and  disorder  usurped  the  place  of 
quietness  and  industry ;  the  necessary  labour  suspended, 
the  lands  were  worse  cultivated  than  before ;  and  the  small 
rents  required  of  them  they  were  often  unable  to  pay.  Yet 
what  does  all  this  prove  .'*  that  slavery  is  better  than  free- 
dom for  a  large  portion  of  mankind  ?  horrible  inference  ! 
But  it  proves  decisively,  what  has  been  often  proved  before, 
that  we  may  be  too  precipitate  in  our  plans  of  reform ;  and 
that  misguided  benevolence  may  frequently  do  mischief, 
while  it  seeks  only  to  diffuse  good. 

In  all   instances  of  failure  relative   to  the   proposed 
benefit  of  human  beings,  the  great  danger  is,  lest  we  should 

•  APPENDIX.  (17) 

relax  in  our  efforts,  and  conclude  that  to  be  impossible, 
which,  in  fact,  our  deficient  wisdom  only  had  prevented  us 
from  effecting. 

Ibid.  p.  109. — The  present  Count  Zamoyski,  son  of  the 
late  Chancellor,  in  no  wise  disheartened  by  his  father's  mis- 
carriage, continues  to  meditate  exteqsive  plans  of  improve- 
ment relative  to  his  own  peasantry-  But  he  is  now  aware 
that  he  must  proceed  with  caution,  and  not  by  attempting 
too  much,  end  in  doing  nothing.  He  designs  to  emancipate 
the  whole  of  his  vassals  gradually;  to  give  them  slight 
privileges  at  first,  and  to  encourage  them  with  the  hope  of 
more,  on  condition  of  proper  conduct.  In  short,  his  prin- 
ciple is  to  retain  the  power  of  reward  and  punishment  com- 
pletely in  his  own  hands,  that  he  may  be  able  to  stimulate 
to  industry  by  the  hope  of  new  favours,  and  to  restrain 
from  misconduct  by  the  threatened  forfeiture  of  those  al- 
ready conceded;  till  their  state,  gradually  ameliorated, 
shall  render  it  safe  to  give  them  entire  freedom,  and  to 
leave  their  conduct  to  be  regulated  by  the  general  operation 
of  the  laws. 

Ibid.  p.  121 — The  cultivation  of  the  soil  in  Poland, 
in  the  manner  it  is  there  conducted,  is  attended  with  little 
trouble  and  expence ;  indeed,  far  less  than  it  ought  to  be. 
We  no  where  see  more  than  a  ploughman  with  his  plough 
and  a  single  pair  of  small  bullocks,  not  bigger  than  English 
steers,  to  produce  a  fallow.  There  is  scarcely  such  a  thing 
as  manure  to  be  seen,  and  the  produce  is  proportionally 

Ibid.  p.  124. — The  territory  of  a  nobleman,  the  extent 
of  which  I  had  an  opportunity  of  ascertaining  with  some 
exactness,  is  about  five  thousand  square  miles;  which 
produces  an  income  of  about  100,000  ducats,  or  J"  50,000. 
sterling:  this  gives  only  .£'50.  a  year  for  every  twenty 
square  miles. 


(18)  APPENDIX.    • 

V.     Page  40. 

State  of  the  Poor  from  the  Conquest  to  the  Reformatioriy 
by  Sir  F.  M.  Eden,  Bart.  Vol.  i — Of  the  domestic  com- 
forts enjoyed  by  the  great  body  of  the  people,  in  the  periods 
immediately  subsequent  to  the  Conquest,  we  may  form  a 
tolerable  estimate,  notwithstanding  the  great  deficiency  of 
evidence  to  mark  the  manners  of  private  life,  from  con- 
sidering the  information  afforded  us  by  historians  con- 
cerning their  political  situation.  If  we  except  the  baronial 
proprietors  of  laud,  and  their  vassals  the  free  tenants  and 
socmen,  the  rest  of  the  nation,  for  a  long  time  after  this 
era,  seems  to  have  been  involved  in  a.  state  of  servitude, 
which,  though  qualified  as  to  its  effects,  was  uniform  in  its 
principle,  that  none  who  had  unhappily  been  bom  in,  or 
had  fallen  into,  bondage,  could  acquire  an  absolute  right 
to  any  species  of  property  \ 

The  condition,  however,  of  the  people,  who  were  thus 
debarred  from  tasting  the  first  of  social  blessings,  was 
not,  in  other  respects,  equally  abject  and  miserable :  those, 
denominated  villeins  in  gross,  were  at  the  absolute  dis- 
posal of  their  lord ;  and  were  transferable  by  deed,  sale, 
or  conveyance,  from  one  owner  to  another.  Thev  were 
principally  employed  in  menial  services  about  the  house, 
and  were  so  numerous  as  to  form  a  considerable  branch 
of  English  commerce.  An  author,  who  lived  in  the  reign 
of  Henry  the  Second,  informs  iis,  that  such  a  number 
of  them  was  exported  to  Ireland,  that  the  market  there 
was  absolutely  glutted;  and  another  declares,  that  from 
the  reign  of  King  William  the  First  to  that  of  King  John, 

1  Litt.  ^.  177.  This  was  also  the  case  in  Scotland:  "Na  bondman 
"  may  buy  or  purches  his  libertie  with  his  awin  proper  gudes  or  geir — 
"  because  all  the  cattell  and  gudes  of  all  bond-men  are  understand  to  be 
"  in  the  power  and  dominion  of  the  maister :  swa  that  without  consent 
"  of  his  maister,  he  may  not  redeme  himself  out  of  bondage  with  his  awin 
"proper  denires  or  money." — See  the  Regiam  Majestatem ;  or  the  Auld 
Lawen  of  Scotland,  Buke  II.  Chap.  12. 

APPENDIX.  (19) 

there  was  scarcely  a  cottage  in  Scotland  that  did  not 
possess  an  English  slave.  These  were  probably  the  cap- 
tives taken  in  the  predatory  inroads  on  the  borders  :  there 
can  be  little  doubt  but  that  the  English  retaliated  on 
their  neighbours,  and  made  slaves  of  such  of  their  Scotch 
prisoners  as  could  not  pay  for  their  ransom.  In  the 
various  accounts  of  the  marauding  expeditions  of  the 
moss-troopers  of  Cumberland,  men  are  often  mentioned 
as  the  principal  part  of  the  booty  they  brought  back. 

Villeins  regardant  were  those  who  were  annexed  to 
manors,  and  bound  to  perform  the  most  servile  offices 
of  agricultural  labour,  which  was  originally  unlimited, 
both  with  regard  to  its  quality  and  its  duration.  They 
however  were  sometimes  permitted  to  occupy  small  por- 
tions of  land  to  sustain  themselves  and  their  families, 
but  were  removable  at  the  lord's  pleasure,  and  were  liable 
to  be  sold,  with  the  soil  to  which  they  belonged ;  from 
which  they  might  also  at  any  time  be  severed.  I  have 
made  this  distinction  between  villeins  in  gross,  and  vil- 
leins regardant,  as  it  is  laid  down  by  our  lawyers  and 
historians.  It  may,  however,  I  think,  be  doubted,  whe- 
ther the  difference  in  their  condition  was  more  than  nomi- 
nal. The  villein  regardant  seems  to  have  been  occasionally 
employed  as  a  domestic,  as  well  as  an  agricultural  slave: 
and  although  he  was  generally  indulged  by  his  lord  in 
the  use  of  a  few  acres  of  land,  he  was  liable  to  be  called 
upon  to  perform  every  species  of  work,  however  pain- 
ful or  degrading.  Other  ranks  of  men,  equally  servile 
and  dependent,  are  noticed  in  ancient  records;  particu- 
larly the  Bordarii,  who,  in  consideration  of  their  being 
permitted  to  occupy  a  small  cottage,  were  bound  to  pro- 
vide poultry,  eggs,  and  other  articles  of  diet  for  the 
lord's  table:  and  the  Cottarii,  or  Coterelli,  who  appear 
to  have  been  much  on  the  same  footing  with  villeins  re- 
gardant, being  employed  in  the  trades  of  smith,  carpenter, 
and  other  handicraft  arts  necessary  in  the  country ;  in 
which  they  had  been  instructed  at  the  expence  of  their 


(20)  APPENDIX. 

masters,  and  for  whose  benefit  they  pursued  their  several 

After  the  Conquest,  various  causes  co-operated  not 
only  to  prevent  the  introduction  of  a  new  stock,  but  also 
to  extinguish  the  ancient  race  of  villeins.  As  it  was  the 
custom  of  enslaving  captives  taken  in  war,  that  was  pro- 
bably the  foundation,  and  certainly  the  support,  for  many 
ages,  of  this  not  more  iniquitous  than  impolitic  system ; 
so  it  seems  that  the  disuse  of  the  ancient  practice  of  con- 
verting captivity  into  slavery,  led  the  way  to  its  ultimate 
abolition :  and,  although  history  is  silent  on  the  subject, 
I  should  imagine,  that,  after  the  introduction  of  the 
Norman  line,  no  Englishman  could  be  a  slave,  unless 
by  birth  or  confession.  These  were  the  only  sources  of 
supply ;  but  they  continued,  for  a  long  time,  sufficiently 
copious  to  involve  the  labouring  classes  of  the  commu- 
nity in  a  bondage,  that  was  marked  by  every  essential 
ingredient  of  slavery. 

Ibid.  p.  13 Between  the  Conquest  and  the  reign  of 

Edward  the  Third,  there  arose  a  middle  class  of  men,  who, 
although  they  did  not  immediately  acquire  the  full  power 
of  bartering  their  labour  to  the  best  bidder,  were,  yet  not 
subjected  to  the  imperious  caprices  of  a  master,  and  the 
unconditional  services  of  personal  bondage.  Of  this  de- 
scription were  the  servile  tenants  of  manors,  who,  although 
they  were  permitted  to  occupy  small  portions  of  land 
for  their  own  use,  were  required,  at  stated  periods  of  the 
year,  to  attend  to  the  cultivation  of  the  demesnes  of  their 
lords.  Previous  to  the  reigns  of  Henry  the  Third,  and 
Edward  the  First,  they  are  not  much  noticed  in  ancient 
records ;  but  in  the  period  immediately  subsequent,  on 
every  occasion,  when  it  became  important  for  the  lord  to 
inquire  into  the  state  of  his  manors  and  their  appendages, 
the  value  of  his  arable  and  pasture  land,  the  number  6f 
his  parks,  his  fish-ponds,  his  mills,  and  his  mansion- 
houses,    were   not   more   minutely   investigated,    than   the 



number  and  condition  of  his  servile  tenants,  and  the  ex- 
tent and  nature  of  the  services  they  were  bound  to  per- 
form. It  was  extremely  essential  for  him  to  ascertain 
■whether  that  part  of  his  estate,  which  he  retained  in 
his  own  hands,  could  be  cultivated  without  the  interven- 
tion of  free  labourers :  and  hence  we  may  see  the  neces- 
sity, why  a  baron,  on  acquiring  a  fee,  either  by  purchase 
or  inheritance,  and  the  king's  escheators,  on  a  forfeiture 
accruing  to  the  crown,  seldom  failed  to  obtain  full  in- 
formation relative  to  manorial  rights,  by  means  of  an 
inquisition,  composed,  in  the  latter  instance,  of  freeholders 
of  the  county,  and  in  the  former,  most  usually,  of  the 
principal  tenants  of  the  manor. 

It  is  from  the  inquests  thus  taken,  that  we  can,  per- 
haps, obtain  the  best  possible  evidence  relative  to  the 
ancient  state  of  agriculture  in  England.  They  often  de- 
scribe, very  particularly,  the  quantity  of  arable,  of  pas- 
ture, and  of  meadow  in  a  manor;  the  times  at  which 
the  various  operations  of  husbandry  were  carried  on ;  the 
duty  of  agricultural  servants ;  their  diet ;  the  customs 
in  harvest;  and  many  other  particulars  highly  illustra- 
tive of  the  rural  economy  of  ancient  times.  From  such 
records,  it  appears,  that,  before  the  reign  of  Edward  the 
First,  the  condition  of  villeins  was  greatly  meliorated; 
and  that,  instead  of  being  obliged  to  perform  every  mean 
and  servile  office,  that  the  arbitrary  will  of  the  lord  re- 
quired, they  had,  at  length,  acquired  a  tenure  in  lands, 
on  condition  of  rendering  services,  which  were  either  cer- 
tain in  their  nature — as  to  reap  the  lord's  corn,  or  cleanse 
his  fish-pond;  or  limited  in  their  duration — as  to  harrow 
two  days  in  the  year,  or  to  employ  three  days  in  cart- 
ing the  lord's  timber. 

A  tenant  by  villenage,  thus  circumstanced,  was  no 
longer  a  villein.  He  was  indeed  bound  to  perform  cer- 
tain stipulated  work  for  his  lord,  generally  at  sowing- 
time  and  harvest,  the  only  seasons  which,  in  the  rude 
state   of  agriculture,    were    much    attended    to:    but,    at 



other  times  of  the  year,  he  was  at  liberty  to  exercise  his 
industry  for  his  own  benefit.  As  early  as  the  year  1257, 
a  servile  tenant,  if  employed  before  Midsummer,  received 
wages :  and  in  Edward  the  First''s  reign,  he  was  permitted, 
instead  of  working  himself,  to  provide  a  labourer  for  the 
lord;  from  which  it  is  obvious,  that  he  must  have  some- 
times possessed  the  means  of  hiring  one :  and,  as  it  is  not 
natural  to  suppose,  that  a  tenant  by  villenage  had  any 
power  of  hiring  the  pure  villein,  (who,  we  have  seen, 
was  annexed  either  to  the  land,  or  the  person  of  his  lord,) 
labourers,  who  were  thus  hired  by  servile  cultivators,  it 
is  probable,  were  either  tenants  by  villenage,  who  could 
assist  their  neighbours  on  the  spare  days,  in  which  they 
were  not  bound  to  work  for  their  lord ;  or  free  labourers, 
who  existed  (although  perhaps  not  in  great  numbers)  long 
before  the  parliamentary  notice  taken  of  them  in  the  Sta- 
tute of  Labourers,  passed  in  1350. 

Treaty se  on  Surveyinge  (said  to  have  been  "  com- 
pyled  sometyme  by  Master  Fitzherharde^''  p.  49  of  reprint). 
^Sir  Anthony  Fitzherbert  lived  in  the  reign  of  Henry  the 
Eighth.  This  Treatise  on  Surveying  is  assigned  to  him 
on  strong  evidence,  and  clearly  it  was  published  in  1523, 
about  his  time ;  it  shews  that  even  then,  barely  more  than 
300  years  ago,  there  were  predial  slaves  in  England  in 
sufficient  numbers  to  form  a  marked  feature  in  the  com- 
position of  the  community. 

Item  inquirendum  est  de  customariis  videlicet  quot  sunt 
customarii  et  quantum  terre  quilibet  customarius  teneat, 
quas  operationes,  et  quas  consuetudines  facit,  et  quantum 
valent  opera  et  consuetudines  cuiuslibet  customarii  per  se 
annum,  et  quantum  redditum  de  redditu.  assise  per  an- 
num preter  opera  et  consuetudines,  et  qui  possunt  talliari 
ad  voluntatem  domini  et  qui  non. 

It  is  to  be  inquered  of  customary  tenantes,  that  is  to 
wytte,  howe  many  there  be,  and  how  moch  land  every  te- 
naunt  holdeth,  and  what  werkes  and  customs  ho  doth,  and 

APPENDIX.  (23) 

what  the  werkes  and  customs  be  worth  of  every  tenaunt  by 
itself,  and  how  moche  rent  by  the  yeare,  above  his  werkes 
and  customes  he  doth  pay,  and  which  of  them  may  taxe 
their  landes  at  the  wyll  of  the  lorde  and  whiche  nat.  Cus- 
tomarye  tenauntes  are  those  that  hold  theyr  landes  of  their 
lord  by  copye  of  courte  role,  after  the  custome  of  the 
manour.  And  there  may  be  many  tenauntes  within  the 
same  manor,  that  have  7io  copies^  and  yet  holde  by  lyke 
custome  and  seruyce  at  the  wyll  of  the  lorde.  And  in 
myne  opinion  it  began  soone  after  the  conquest,  when 
William  conquerour  had  conquered  the  realme,  he  rewarded 
all  those  that  came  with  hym,  in  his  viage  royall,  according 
to  their  degree.  And  to  honourable  men  he  gave  lord- 
shyppes,  maners,  landes,  and  tenementes,  with  all  the  in- 
habytantes,  men  and  women  dwellyng  in  the  same,  to  do 
with  them  at  their  pleasure. 

And  those  honourable  men  thought,  that  they  must 
needes  have  servantes  and  tenantes,  and  theyr  landes  occu- 
pyed  with  tyllage.  Wherefore  they  pardoned  the  inha- 
bytantes  of  their  lyues,  and  caused  them  to  do  al  maner  of 
servyce,  that  was  to  be  done,  were  it  never  so  wyle,  and 
caused  them  to  occupie  their  landes  and  tenementes  in 
tyllage,  and  toke  of  them  suche  rentes  customes  and  ser- 
vices, as  it  pleased  them  to  have.  And  also  took  all  their 
goodes  and  cattell  at  all  tymis  at  their  plesure,  and  called 
them  their  bondmen,  and  sythe  that  tyme  many  noblemen 
both  spirituall  and  temporall,  of  their  godly  disposition 
have  made  to  divers  of  the  said  bondmen  manumissions, 
and  granted  them  freedom  and  libertie,  and  set  to  them 
their  landes  and  tenementes  to  occupy  after  dyvers  maner 
of  rentes,  customes  and  servyces,  the  whiche  is  used  in 
dyuers  places  unto  this  day.  Howe  be  it  in  some  places, 
the  boundmen  contynue  as  yet,  the  which  me  semeth  is  the 
greatest  inconuenience  that  now  is  suffered  by  the  lawe, 
that  is  to  haue  any  christen  man  bounden  to  an  other,  and 
to  haue  the  rule  of  his  body,  landes  and  goodes  that  his 
wife,  children,  and  seruantes  haue  laboured  for  all  theyr 

(24)  A  I'l'K  K  U  IX. 

lyfe  tyme  to  be  so  taken,  like  as  and  it  were  extorcion  or 
bribery.  And  many  tymes  by  coulour  thereof,  there  be 
many  freemen  taken  as  bondmen,  and  their  landes,  and 
goodes  taken  from  them,  so  that  they  shall  not  be  able  to 
sue  for  remedy,  to  proue  themselfe  fre  of  blode.  And  that 
is  moste  commonly  where  the  freemen  have  the  same  name 
as  the  bondemen,  or  that  his  auncesters,  of  whome  he  is 
comen,  was  manumysed  before  his  byrthe.  In  such  case 
there  can  nat  be  to  great  a  punyshment.  For  as  me 
semeth,  there  shulde  be  no  man  bounde,  but  to  God,  and 
to  his  kynge,  and  prince  ouer  hym :  Quia  deus  non  facit 
exceptionem  personarum,  for  God  maketh  no  exception  of 
any  person.  Wherefore  it  were  a  charitable  dede  to  euery 
nobleman  both  spirituall,  and  temporall,  to  do  as  they 
wolde  be  done  by,  and  that  is  to  manumyse  them  that  be 
bond,  and  to  make  thtm  fre  of  body  and  blode,  reseruing 
to  them  theyr  rentes,  customes,  and  seruices  of  olde  tyme 
due  and  accustomed,  wherein  they  may  get  the  prayers  of 
the  partie,  and  remyssion  of  theyr  offences,  as  in  the  gos- 
pell.     Eadem  mesura,  qua  metiti,  fueritis,   metietur  vobis. 

The  Latin  words  which  head  this  extract,  are  part  of 
a  statute  of  Edward  the  First ;  but  Fitzherbert,  or  the 
author,  be  he  who  he  may,  does  not  mention  in  his  com- 
ment that  any  part  of  it  relates  to  obsolete  usages  or  laws. 
Do  not  therefore  the  words  et  qui  possunt  talliari  ad  volun- 
tatem  domini  et  qui  non  indicate  that  this  class  of  tenantry 
were  tallaged  or  taxed  by  those  in  whose  estate  they  lived, 
till  their  race  became  extinct .'' 

VI.      Page  77  and  78. 

Miiller  treats  the  Perioeci  as  tributary  communities,  as 
a  sort  of  inferior  allies,  and  denies  that  their  condition  ever 
approached  that  of  individual  personal  dependence:  their 
condition,  he  says,  "  never  had  the  slightest  resemblance  to 
that  of  bondage,"  (see  Tuffnell  and  Letvis,  p.  30).    It  strikes 

APPENDIX.  (25) 

me,  as  it  seems  to  have  done  Goettling/(see  his  Aristotle, 
p.  4^5.)  that  if  this  is  meant  to  apply  to  the  Grecian  Perioeci 
generally,  it  is  going  rather  too  far.  The  Perioeci  appear 
to  have  been  every  where  natives  reduced  by  foreign  in- 
vaders to  a  state  of  subjection  less  servile  in  some  districts 
than  in  others,  but  very  like  bondage  in  many.  Aristotle 
must  have  seen  them  in  such  a  state  when  he  intimates  that 
they  may  very  well  occupy  the  place  of  the  ^oiyXot,  he  pre- 
fers as  cultivators.     See  note  to  page  80.  of  text.     See  too 

Gcettling's  Aristotle,  p.  473 "  Urbs  quaevis  autem  Cre- 

*'  tensium  suos  habebat  Perioecos  indigenas  quidem  sed 
"  bello  victos,  qui  agrum  ceteris  colebant :  nee  tamen  armis 
**  iis  uti  licuit  nee  gymnasiis.  Id  ex  institutione  Minois 
supererat,  ut  auctor  est  Aristoteles.*" 

Goettling  on  the  other  hand  is  of  opinion,  that  this 
class  of  people,  neither  slaves  or  freemen,  but  invested 
with  something  of  an  intermediate  character,  existed  in  the 
Dorian  states  alone ;  and  he  says  distinctly  that  they  were 
not  to  be  found  among  the  lonians,  see  Arist.  Pol.  by 
"  Goettling,  p.  464.  "  Fundata  erat  autem  hsec  dorica  con- 
"  stitutio  duabus  maxime  rebus :  diverse  moderatae  mul- 
"  titudinis  jure  et  magistratuum  descripta  dignitate.  Nam 
*'  quum  civitates  lonicce  originis  nonnisi  liberos  novissent 
"  et  servos  qtii  civitatem  constituerent,  apud  Dorienses  me- 
"  dium  quoddam  genus  inter  liberos  (Spartanos)  et  servos 
*'  (Helotes)  reperiebatur,  Peiioecorum  nomine  insignitum.'^ 
Surely  this  is  a  mistake,  and  one  which  would  lead  to  con- 
siderable misapprehension  as  to  the  mode  in  which  the  early 
communities  of  Greece,  Ionian  as  well  as  Dorian,  were  ori- 
ginally constituted.  Wherever  a  conquest  took  place,  there 
a  class  was  established  under  some  name  or  other,  consisting 
of  the  conquered  natives,  and  ranking  neither  as  citizens  or 
slaves.  Such  a  class  existed  as  we  have  seen  among  the 
Ionian  inhabitants  of  Attica.  The  fact  seems  to  be,  that 
although  this  order  in  the  state  may  be  traced  almost  every 
where  in  Greece,  still  it  was  in  the  Dorian  states  alone  that 
its  presence  and  functions  were  necessary  to  support  the 

(26)  APPEND  IX. 

very  peculiar  institutions  established  by  the  conquerors. 
Elsewhere  it  might  disappear  or  be  transformed,  as  in 
Attica,  without  the  event''s  affecting  the  constitution  of 
the  state. 


Travels  in  France,  by  Arthur  Young,  Esq.  Vol.  ii. 

p.  151 The  predominant  feature  in  the  farms  of  Piedmont 

is  metayers,  nearly  upon  the  same  system  which  I  have 
described  and  condemned,  in  treating  of  the  husbandry 
of  France.  The  landlord  commonly  pays  the  taxes  and 
repairs  the  buildings,  and  the  tenant  provides  cattle,  im- 
plements, and  seed ;  they  divide  the  produce.  Wherever 
this  system  prevails,  it  may  be  taken  for  granted  that 
a  useless  and  miserable  population  is  found.  The  poverty 
of  the  farmers  is  the  origin  of  it ;  they  cannot  stock  the 
farms,  pay  taxes,  and  rent  in  money,  and,  therefore,  must 
divide  the  produce  in  order  to  divide  the  burthen.  There 
is  reason  to  believe  that  this  was  entirely  the  system  in 
every  part  of  Europe ;  it  is  gradually  going  out  every 
where ;  and  in  Piedmont  is  giving  way  to  great  farms, 
whose  occupiers  pay  a  money  rent.  I  was  for  sometime 
deceived  in  going  from  Nice  to  Turin,  and  believed  that 
more  of  the  farms  were  larger  than  is  really  the  case, 
which  resulted  from  many  small  ones  being  collected  into 
one  home-stead.  That  belonging  to  the  Prince  of  Carig- 
nan,  at  Bilia  Bruna,  has  the  appearance  of  being  very 
considerable;  but,  on  inquiry,  I  found  it  in  the  hands 
of  seven  families  of  metayers.  In  the  mountains,  from 
Nice  to  Racconis,  however,  they  are  small;  but  many 
properties,  as  in  the  mountains  of  France  and   Spain. 

The  Caval.  de  Capra,  member  of  the  Agrarian  Society, 
assured  me,  that  the  union  of  farms  was  the  ruin  of  Pied- 
mont, and  the  effect  of  luxury ;  that  the  metayers  were 
dismissed  and  driven  away,  and  the  fields  every  where 
depopulated.  I  demanded  how  the  country  came  to  have 
the  appearance  of  immense  cultivation,  and  looked  rather 

APPENDIX.  (27) 

like  a  garden  than  a  farm,  all  the  way  from  Coni  ?  He 
replied,  that  I  should  see  things  otherwise  in  passing  to 
Milan :  that  the  rice  culture  was  supported  by  great 
farms,  and  that  large  tracts  of  country  were  reduced  to 
a  desert.  Are  they  then  uncultivated  ?  No ;  they  are 
very  well  cultivated ;  but  the  people  all  gone,  or  become 
miserable.  We  hear  the  same  story  in  every  country  that 
is  improving:  while  the  produce  is  eaten  up  by  a  super- 
fluity of  idle  hands,  there  is  population  on  the  spot ;  but 
it  is  useless  population :  the  improvement  banishes  these 
drones  to  towns,  where  they  become  useful  in  trade  and 
manufactures,  and  yield  a  market  to  that  land,  to  which 
they  were  before  only  a  burthen.  No  country  can  be 
really  flourishing  unless  this  take  place;  nor  can  there 
be  any  where  a  flourishing  and  wealthy  race  of  farmers, 
able  to  give  money  rents,  but  by  the  destruction  of 
metaying.  Does  any  one  imagine  that  England  would 
be  more  rich  and  more  populous  if  her  farmers  were 
turned  into  metayers  ?  Ridiculous.  The  intendant  of 
Bissatti  added  another  argument  against  great  farms; 
namely,  that  of  their  being  laid  to  grass  more  than  small 
ones ;  surely  this  is  a  leading  circumstance  in  their  favour  ; 
for  grass  is  the  last  and  greatest  improvement  of  Pied- 
mont; and  that  arrangement  of  the  soil  which  occasions 
most  to  be  in  grass,  is  the  most  beneficial.  Their  mea- 
dows are  amongst  the  finest  and  most  productive  in  the 
world.  What  is  their  arable.''  It  yields  crops  of  five 
or  six  times  the  seed  only.  To  change  such  arable  to 
such  grass,  is,  doubtless,  the  highest  degree  of  improve- 
ment. View  France  and  her  metayers — View  England 
and  her  farmers;  and  then  draw  your  conclusions. 

Wherever  the  country  (that  I  saw)  is  poor  and  un- 
watered,  in  the  Milanese,  it  is  in  the  hands  of  metayers. 
At  Mozzata  the  Count  de  Castiglioni  shewed  me  the  rent 
book  his  intendcmt  (steward)  keeps,  and  it  is  a  curious 
explanation  of  the  system  which  prevails.  In  some  hun- 
dred pages  I  saw  very  few  names  without  a  large  balance 
of  debt  due   to  him,  and  brouglit  from  the  book  of  the 

(28)  APPENDIX. 

preceding  year :  they  pay  by  so  many  nioggii  of  all  the 
different  grains,  at  the  price  of  the  year :  so  many  heads 
of  poultry  ;  so  much  labour ;  so  much  hay  ;  and  so  much 
straw,  &c.  But  there  is,  in  most  of  their  accounts,  on 
the  debtor's  side,  a  variety  of  articles,  beside  those  of 
regular  rent :  so  much  corn,  of  all  sorts,  borrowed  of 
the  landlord,  for  seed  or  food,  when  the  poor  man  has 
none:  the  same  thing  is  common  in  France,  wherever 
metaying  takes  place.  All  this  proves  the  extreme  poverty, 
and  even  misery,  of  these  little  farmers ;  and  shews,  that 
their  condition  is  more  wretched  than  that  of  a  day  la- 
bourer. They  are  much  too  numerous ;  three  being  cal- 
culated to  live  on  one  hundred  pertichi,  and  all  fully 
employed  by  labouring,  and  cropping  the  land  inces- 
santly with  the  spade,  for  a  produce  unequal  to  the  pay- 
ment of  any  thing  to  the  landlord,  after  feeding  themselves 
and  their  cattle  as  they  ought  to  be  fed ;  hence  the  uni- 
versal distress  of  the   country. 

Ibid.  p.  155. — Estates  in  Bologna  are  very  generally 
let  to  middlemen,  who  re-let  them  to  the  farmers  at  half 
produce,  by  which  means  the  proprietor  receives  little 
more  than  one  half  of  what  he  might  do  on  a  better 
system,  with  a  peasantry  in  a  better  situation.  The 
whole  country  is  at  half  produce;  the  farmer  supplies 
implements,  cattle,  and  sheep,  and  half  the  seed ;  the 
proprietor  repairs. 

Ibid.  pp.  155-56. — Letting  lands,  at  money  rent,  is  but 
new  in  Tuscany ;  and  it  is  strange  to  say,  that  Sig.  Pao- 
letti,  a  very  practical  writer,  declares  against  it.  A  farm 
in  Tuscany  is  called  a  podere :  and  such  a  number  of  them 
as  are  placed  under  the  management  of  a  factor,  is  called 

fattoria.  His  business  is  to  see  that  the  lands  are  ma- 
naged according  to  the  lease,  and  that  the  landlord  has  his 
fair  half.     These  farms  are  not  often  larger  than  for  a  pair 

•  of  oxen,  and  eight  to  twelve  people  in  one  house ;  some  1(X> 
pertichi  (this  measure  is  to  the  acre,  as  about  15  to  38), 
and  two  pair  of  oxen,  with  twenty  people.      I  was  assured 

APPENDIX.  (29) 

that  these  metayers  are  (especially  near  Florence)  much 
at  their  ease;  that  on  holydays  they  are  dressed  remark- 
ably well,  and  not  without  objects  of  luxury,  as  silver, 
gold,  and  silk ;  and  live  well,  on  plenty  of  bread,  wine, 
and  legumes.  In  some  instances  this  may  possibly  be 
the  case,  but  the  general  fact  is  contrary.  It  is  absurd 
to  think  that  metayers,  upon  such  a  farm  as  is  cultivated 
by  a  pair  of  oxen,  can  be  at  their  ease;  and  a  clear 
proof  of  their  poverty  is  this,  that  the  landlord,  who  pro- 
vides half  the  live  stock,  is  often  obliged  to  lend  the 
peasant  money  to  enable  him  to  procure  his  half;  but 
they  hire  farms  with  very  little  money,  which  is  the  old 
story  of  France,  &c. ;  and  indeed  poverty  and  miserable 
agriculture  are  the  sure  attendants  upon  this  way  of  letting 
land.  The  metayers,  not  in  the  vicinity  of  the  city,  are 
so  poor,  that  landlords  even  lend  them  corn  to  eat:  their 
food  is  black  bread,  made  of  a  mixture  with  vetches ;  and 
their  drink  is  very  little  wine,  mixed  with  water,  and 
called  aquarolle ;  meat  on  Sundays  only ;  their  dress  very 

Ibid.  p.  157 In  the  mountains  of  Modena  there  are 

many  peasant  proprietors,  but  not  in  the  plain.  A  great 
evil  here,  as  in  other  parts  of  Lombardy,  is  the  practice 
of  the  great  lords,  and  the  possessors  of  lands  in  mort- 
main letting  to  middle  men,  who  re-let  to  metayers ;  under 
which  tenure  are  all  the  lands  of  the  dutchy. 

Ibid.  p.  158 — Appearances  from  Reggio  to  Parma  are 
much  inferior  to  those  from  Modena  to  Reggio ;  the  fences 
not  so  neat ;  nor  the  houses  so  well  built,  white,  or  clean. 
All  here  metayers ;  the  proprietor  supplies  the  cattle,  half 
the  seed,  and  pays  the  taxes;  the  peasant  provides  the 
utensils.  In  the  whole  dutchies  of  Parma  and  Piacenza,  and 
indeed  almost  every  where  else,  the  farms  must  be  very 
small ;  the  practices  I  have  elsewhere  noted,  of  the  digging 
the  land  for  beans,  and  working  it  up  with  a  superfluity 
of  labour,  evidently  shew  it :  the  swarms  of  people  in  all 
the  markets  announce  the  same  fact ;  at  Piacenza,  I  saw 

(30)  APPENDIX. 

men,  whose  only  business  was  to  bring  a  small  bag  of 
apples,  about  a  peck ;  one  man  brought  a  turkey,  and 
not  a  fine  one.  What  a  waste  of  time  and  labour,  for 
a  stout  fellow  to  be  thus  employed. 

Travels  in  Switzerland^  by  W.  Coxe,  Vol.  in.  p.  145. — 
Another  cause  of  their  wretchedness  proceeds  from  the 
present  state  of  property.  Few  of  the  peasants  are  land- 
holders ;  as  from  the  continual  oppression  under  which  the 
people  have  groaned  for  above  these  two  last  centuries,  the 
freeholds  have  gradually  fallen  into  the  hands  of  the  nobles 
and  Grisons,  the  latter  of  whom  are  supposed  to  possess 
half  the  estates  in  the  Valteline.  The  tenants  who  take 
farms  do  not  pay  their  rent  in  money,  but  in  kind  ;  a  strong 
proof  of  general  poverty.  The  peasant  is  at  all  the  costs 
of  cultivation,  and  delivers  near  half  the  produce  to  the 
landholder.  The  remaining  portion  would  ill  compensate 
his  labour  and  expence,  if  he  was  not  in  some  measure  be- 
friended by  the  fertility  of  the  soil.  The  ground  seldom 
lies  fallow,  and  the  richest  parts  of  the  valley  produce  two 
crops.  The  first  crop  is  wheat,  rye,  or  spelt,  half  of  which 
is  delivered  to  the  proprietor ;  the  second  crop  is  generally 
millet,  buck-wheat,  maaze,  or  Turkey  corn,  which  is  the 
principal  nourishment  of  the  common  people :  the  chief 
part  of  this  crop  belongs  to  the  peasant,  and  enables  him  in 
a  plentiful  year  to  support  his  family  with  some  degree  of 
comfort.  The  peasants  who  inhabit  the  districts  which 
yield  wine  are  the  most  wretched :  for  the  trouble  and 
charge  of  rearing  the  vines,  of  gathering  and  pressing  the 
grapes,  is  very  considerable ;  and  they  are  so  very  apt  to 
consume  the  share  of  liquor  allotted  to  them  in  intoxication', 
that,  were  it  not  for  the  grain  intermixed  with  the  vines, 
they  and  their  families  would  be  left  almost  entirely  des- 
titute of  subsistence. 

Besides  the  business  of  agriculture,  some  of  the  pea- 
sants attend  to  the  cultivation  of  silk.  For  this  purpose 
they  receive  the  eggs  from  the  landholder,  rear  the  silk- 
worms, and  arc  entitled  to  half  the  silk.     This  emplovmeiit 

APPENDIX.  (31) 

is  not  unprofitable ;  for  although  the  rearing  of  the  silk- 
worms is  attended  with  much  trouble,  and  requires  great 
caution,  yet  as  the  occupation  is  generally  entrusted  to  the 
women,  it  does  not  take  the  men  from  their  work. 

With  all  the  advantages,  however,  derived  from  the 
fertility  of  the  soil,  and  the  variety  of  its  productions,  the 
peasants  cannot,  without  the  utmost  difficulty,  and  a  con- 
stant exertion,  maintain  their  families ;  and  they  are  always 
reduced  to  the  greatest  distress,  whenever  the  season  is  un- 
favourable to  agriculture. 

To  the  causes  of  penury  among  the  lower  classes  above 
enumerated,  may  be  added  the  natural  indolence  of  the 
people,  and  their  tendency  to  superstition,  which  takes 
them  from  their  labour.  Upon  the  whole,  I  have  not,  in 
the  course  of  my  travels,  seen  any  peasantry,  except  in 
Poland,  so  comfortless  as  the  inferior  inhabitants  of  this 
valley.  They  enjoy  indeed  one  great  advantage  over  the 
Poles,  in  not  being  the  absolute  property  of  the  landholder, 
and  transferable,  like  cattle.  They  are  therefore  at  liberty 
to  live  where  they  chuse,  to  quit  their  country,  and  seek 
a  better  condition  in  other  regions ;  a  relief  to  which  dis- 
tress often  compels  them  to  have  recourse. 

Ibid.  p.  143. — The  cottages  of  the  peasants,  which  are 
built  of  stone,  are  large,  but  gloomy,  generally  without  glass 
windows :  I  entered  several,  and  was  every  where  disgusted 
with  an  uniform  appearance  of  dirt  and  poverty.  The 
peasants  are  mostly  covered  with  rags,  and  the  children  have 
usually  an  unhealthy  look,  which  arises  from  their  wretched 
manner  of  living.  Such  a  scarcity  of  provisions  has  been 
occasioned  by  last  year's  drought,  that  the  poor  inhabitants 
have  been  reduced  to  the  most  extreme  necessity.  The 
price  of  bread  was  unavoidably  raised  so  high,  that  in  many 
parts  the  peasants  could  not  purchase  it;  and  their  only 
food  was  for  some  time  a  kind  of  paste,  made  by  pounding 
the  hulls  and  stones  of  the  grapes  which  had  been  pressed 
for  wine,  and  mixing  it  with  a  little  meal.  Famine,  added 
to  their  oppressed  situation,  reduced  the  inhabitants  to  the 

(32)  APPEKDIX. 

lowest  condition  of  human  misery,  and  numbers  perished 
from  absolute  want. 

ally's  Narrative  and  Researches  among  the  VaudoiSy 
4"C.  p.  129. — The  other  cottages  we  entered  were  of  a  very 
inferior  order,  and  had  but  few  of  those  little  comforts, 
with  which  in  England  we  desire  to  see  the  poorest  sup- 
plied, and  it  was  quite  astonishing  to  compare  the  very 
rude  and  insufficient  accommodations  of  these  people,  with 
their  civility  and  information.  In  their  mode  of  living, 
or  I  might  almost  say,  herding  together,  under  a  roof, 
which  is  barely  weather  proof,  they  are  far  behind  our 
own  peasantry,  but  in  mental  advancement  they  are  just 
as  far  beyond  them.  Most  of  them  have  a  few  roods  of 
land,  which  they  can  call  their  own  property,  varving  in 
extent,  from  about  a  quarter  of  an  acre  and  upwards,  and 
they  have  the  means  of  providing  themselves  with  fuel, 
from  the  abundance  of  wood  upon  the  mountains. 

The  tenure,  upon  which  land  is  hired,  requires  that  the 
occupier  should  pay  to  the  proprietor  half  the  produce  of 
corn  and  wine  in  kind,  and  half  the  value  of  the  hay.  The 
indifferent  corn-land  yields  about  five  fold,  and  the  best 
twelve  fold.  They  seldom  suffer  the  ground  to  lie  fallow, 
and  the  most  general  course  is,  wheat  for  two  years,  and 
maize  the  third.  The  land  is  well  manured  from  time  to 
time,  and  the  corn  is  usually  sown  in  August  or  September, 
and  cut  in  June.  In  the  vale  of  San  Giovanni,  and  in  a  few 
other  productive  spots,  hay  is  cut  three  times  in  the  year. 

Ibid.  p.  128 On  a  crate  suspended  from  the  ceiling, 

we  counted  fourteen  large  black  loaves.  Bread  is  an  un- 
usual luxury  among  them,  but  the  owner  of  this  cottage 
was  of  a  condition  something  above  the  generality. 


Note  on  Ryot  Rents. 

Col.   Tod's   services   in   Rajast^han    were   most   distin- 
guished.     His  elaborate  work  is  a  valuable  contribution  to 

APPKNDIX.  (33) 

the  literature  of  his  country.  Had  I  found  that  the  facts 
collected  by  such  a  person  really  contradicted  the  opinions 
I  have  arrived  at  (in  common,  however,  with  the  majority 
of  those  who  have  considered  the  subject),  I  should  have 
been  most  ready  to  have  re-examined  those  opinions,  and 
perhaps  to  have  abandoned  them.  But  the  conclusions 
which  Col.  Tod  has  drawn  from  his  facts,  seem  to  me  to 
require  considerable  modification  before  they  can  be  recon- 
ciled with  the  past  and  present  condition  of  the  rest  of 
India,  or  indeed  of  Rajasfhan  itself  as  he  depicts  it. 
The  Colonel  thinks,  that  the  relations  between  the  princes 
of  Rajast"'han  and  their  nobles  are  similar  to  those  which 
existed,  between  the  feudal  nobility  of  Europe  and  their 
sovereigns ;  and  that  the  ryots  have  an  interest  in  the  soil, 
which  he  calls  a  freehold  interest :  and  this  he  magnifies 
and  dwells  on,  with  all  the  partiality  of  a  man,  who  feels 
a  good  natured  pleasure  in  exalting  the  institutions  of  his 
favorite  Rajpoots. 

The  question  to  be  discussed  is,  whether  there  is  any 
thing  in  the  facts  produced  by  Col.  Tod  or  others,  to  con- 
tradict the  notion  adopted  in  the  text,  that  the  soil  of 
India  belongs  to  the  sovereign  and  to  the  sovereign  alone, 
and  that  the  occupiers  have  never,  practically,  any  other 
character  than  that  of  his  tenantry,  except  in  some  small 
districts,  which  form  acknowledged  exceptions  to  a  general 
rule.  The  mere  existence  of  a  feudal  nobility,  so  far  from 
being  inconsistent  with  the  proprietary  right  of  the  sove- 
reign, strongly  confirms  it.  It  is  the  one  essential  cha- 
racteristic of  a  feudal  system,  that  the  land  should  be 
granted  by  the  sovereign,  and  on  certain  conditions.  In 
Europe  the  right  of  resumption  slid  out  of  the  hands  of 
the  monarchs  *by  imperceptible  degrees.  In  Rajast'han 
it  has  never  escaped  them  at  all.  Only  a  century  and 
a  half  ago,  so  miserably  unstable  was  the  claim  of  sub- 
ject nobles  even  to  the  temporary  possession  of  any  par- 
ticular spot,  that  they  were  in  the  habit  of  changing  their 
lands  every   three  years.     "  So  late  as  the  reign  of  Mana 

(34)  APPKNDtX. 

Singrani  (10  generations  ago,)  the  fiefs  of  Mewar  were 
actually  moveable,  and  little  more  than  a  century  and 
a  half  has  passed  since  this  practice  ceased.  Thus,  a 
Rahtore  would  shift  with  family,  chattels  and  retainers, 
from  the  north  into  the  wilds  of  Chuppun,  while  the 
Suktawut,  relieved,  would  occupy  the  plains  at  the  foot 
of  the  Aravulli,  or  a  Chondawut  would  exchange  his 
abode  on  the  banks  of  the  Chumbul  with  a  Pramara  or 
Chohan  from  the  Table  Mountain,  the  eastern  boundary 
of  Mewar.  "  Such  changes"  (Mr.  Tod  says  in  a  note,) 
"  were  triennial,  and  as  I  have  heard  the  Prince  himself 
say,  so  interwoven  with  their  customs  was  this  rule,  that 
it  caused  no  dissatisfaction :  but  of  this  we  may  be  allowed 
at  least  to  doubt.  It  was  a  perfect  check  to  the  imbibing 
of  local  attachment ;  and  the  prohibition  against  erecting 
forts  for  refuge  or  defiance,  prevented  its  growth  if  ac- 
quired. It  produced  the  object  intended,  obedience  to 
the  Prince,  and  unity  against  the  restless  Mogul". ^ — Tod's 
Rajasfhan,  p.  l64. 

Even  now  their  rights  remain  much  on  the  same 
footing.  In  Europe,  the  necessity  of  admission  by  the 
sovereign,  the  fine  paid  by  the  heir,  and  the  renewal  of 
homage  and  fealty,  kept  alive  the  recollection  at  least, 
of  the  past  rights  of  the  .sovereign.  In  Rajast'han,  an 
ctual  resumption  takes  place  by  the  Rajah  on  the  death 
)f  every  chief:  and  is  conducted  in  such  a  manner,  as 
very  impressively  to  exhibit  the  existing  claims  of  the 
monarch,  and  the  entire  [legal)  dependence  of  all  deri- 
vative interests  on  his  will.  "  On  the  demise  of  a  chief, 
the  prince  immediately  sends  a  party,  termed  the  ztibti 
(sequestrator),  consisting  of  a  civil  officer  and  a  few  sol- 
diers, who  take  possession  of  the  state  (quere,  estate)  in  the 
prince's  name.  The  heir  sends  his  prayer  to  court  to  be 
installed  in  the  property,  offering  the  proper  relief.  This 
paid,  the  chief  is  invited  to  repair  to  the  presence,  when  he 
performs  homage,  and  makes  protestations  of  service  and 
fealty ;   he  receives   a  fresh   grant,   and   the   inauguration 

APPENDIX.  (35) 

terminates  by  the  prince  girding  him  with  a  sword,  in 
the  old  forms  of  chivalry.  It  is  an  imposing  ceremony, 
performed  in  a  full  assembly  of  the  court,  and  one  of 
the  few  which  has  never  been  relinquished.  The  fine 
paid,  and  the  brand  buckled  to  his  side,  a  steed,  turban, 
plume,  and  dress  of  honour  given  to  the  chief,  the  in- 
vestiture is  complete-,  the  sequestrator  returns  to  court, 
and  the  chief  to  his  estate,  to  receive  the  vows  and  congra- 
tulations of  his  vassals." — Tod's  Rajasfhariy  p.  158. 
After  these  extracts,  it  can  hardly  be  necessary  to  state, 
that  the  doctrine  as  to  the  proprietary  rights  of  the  sove- 
reign is  not  weakened  by  the  condition  of  the  noble  Raj- 
poots. It  would  be  a  curious  subject,  were  this  the  place 
for  it,  to  trace  the  peculiar  causes  which  have  led  the  sove- 
reigns of  Rajast'han,  to  delegate,  in  a  great  measure,  the 
military  defence  of  their  frontiers  to  chieftains  so  nearly 
resembling  our  feudal  barons.  Those  causes  may  be  par- 
tially discerned  in  the  ties  of  blood  which  connect  the 
sovereign  and  chiefs  with  their  tribes — in  the  mountainous 
character  of  their  fortresses — in  their  being  constantly 
liable  to  hostile  incursions — and  in  their  almost  perpetual 
state  of  defensive  war.  We  should,  I  think,  after  fairly 
examining  the  causes  and  results  of  the  Rajpoot  system, 
find  much  more  reason  to  wonder,  that  the  rights  of  the 
sovereign  to  the  soil  have  not  oftener  generated  such  a 
system,  than  to  conclude  from  its  existence  in  Rajast'han 
that  there  are  no  such  proprietary  rights. 

I  cannot  quit  the  feudal  part  of  the  question,  without 
warmly  recommending  Col.  Tod's  book  to  the  general 
reader,  and  to  the  student  of  history,  and  of  man.  The 
system  of  modified  dependence  on  the  chief  for  military 
services,  as  established  in  this  part  of  India,  has  produced 
a  resemblance  to  the  state  of  Europe  at  a  certain  period  of 
the  progress  of  feuds,  which  is  most  striking,  interesting 
and  instructive.  That  resemblance  may  be  trax;ed  in  the 
tenures  and  laws  of  the  Rajpoots — in  the  mixed  poli- 
tical  results  of  these — both   good   and   evil — and  in    th(^ 



moral,  and  we  may  almost  say  poetical  characteristics  of 
the  population — in  the  deep  and  enthusiastic  feeling  which 
accompany  their  notions  of  fealty — in  the  emulous  courage, 
the  desperate  fidelity  of  the  nobles — and  in  many  lofty 
and  romantic  traits  of  manners  worthy  to  have  sprung 
out  of  the  very  bosom  of  chivalry,  and  extending  their 
influence  to  the  dark  beauties  of  the  Zenana,  as  well  as 
to  their  warrior  kindred.  High  born  dames  in  distress, 
still  there,  as  they  once  did  in  Europe,  send  their  tokens 
to  selected  champions,  who  whether  invested  with  sovereign 
power,  or  occupying  a  less  distinguished  station,  are  equally 
bound  to  speed  to  their  aid,  under  the  penalty  of  being 
stigmatized  for  ever  as  cravens  and  dishonored.  Col. 
Tod,  himself,  can  boast  an  honor  (well  deserved  by 
zealous  devotion  and  disinterested  services,)  which  many 
a  preux  chevalier  would  have  joyfully  dared  a  thousand 
deaths  to  obtain,  that  of  being  the  chosen  friend  and  cham- 
pion of  more  than  one  princess,  whose  regal,  and  in- 
deed celestial,  descents  make  the  longest  genealogies  of 
Europe  look  mean. 

The  next  question  arising  out  of  Col.  Tod\s  book  is 
this.  Are  the  ryots  in  Rajast'han  practically^  as  he  con- 
ceives them  to  be,  freeholders  in  any  sense  in  which  an 
English  proprietor  is  called  the  freeholder  of  the  land  he 
owns  "^  I  began  in  the  text  by  remarking,  that  the  ryot 
has  very  generally  a  recognized  right  to  the  hereditary 
occupation  of  his  plot  of  ground,  while  he  pays  the  rent 
demanded  of  him :  and  the  question  is,  whether  that  right 
in  Rajast'han  practically  amounts  to  a  proprietary  right  or 
not.  Now  a  distinction  before  suggested  in  the  text,  seems 
to  afford  the  only  real  criterion  which  can  enable  us  to 
determine  this  question  fairly.  Is  the  ryot  at  rack-rent .'' 
has  he,  or  has  he  not,  a  henejiciai  interest  in  the  soil .''  can 
he  obtain  money  for  that  interest  by  sale  ?  can  he  make  a 
landlord's  rent  of  it.''  To  give  a  cultivator  an  hereditary 
interest  at  a  variable  rack-rent,  and  then  to  call  his  right 
To  till,  a  freehold  right,  would  clearly  be  little  better  than 

APl'KNDIX.  (37) 

mockery.  To  subject  such  a  person  to  the  payment  of 
more  than  a  rack-rent,  to  leave  him  no  adequate  remu- 
neration for  his  personal  toil,  and  still  to  call  him  a  free- 
hold proprietor,  would  be  something  more  bitter  than  mere 
mockery.  To  establish  by  laM',  and  enforce  cruelly  in 
practice,  fines  and  punishments  to  avenge  his  running 
away  from  his  freehold,  and  refusing  to  cultivate  it 
for  the  benefit  of  his  hard  task  master,  would  be  to  con- 
vert him  into  a  predial  slave:  and  this,  although  a  very 
natural  consequence  of  the  mode  of  establishing  such  free- 
hold rights  would  make  the  names  of  proprietor  and  owner 
almost  ridiculous. 

The  use  of  the  criterion  here  pointed  out,  is  made 
very  palpable  by  Sir  T.  Munro  in  a  "  Minute  on  the 
State  of  the  Country  and  on  the  Condition  of  the 
People,"  dated  the  31st  of  December,  1824.  "Had  the 
public  assessment,  as  pretended,  ever  been,  as  in  the 
books  of  their  sages,  only  a  sixth  or  a  fifth,  or  even  only 
a  fourth  of  the  gross  produce,  the  payment  of  a  fixed 
share  in  kind,  and  all  the  expensive  machinery  requisite 
for  its  supervision,  never  could  have  been  wanted.  The 
simple  plan  of  a  money  assessment  might  have  been  at  once 
resorted  to,  in  the  full  confidence  that  the  revenue  would 
every  year,  in  good  or  bad  seasons,  be  easily  and  punctually 
paid.  No  person  who  knows  any  thing  of  Inaia  revenue 
can  believe  that  the  Rayet,  if  his  fixed  assessment  were  only 
a  fifth  or  a  fourth  of  the  gross  produce,  would  not  every 
year,  whether  the  season  were  good  or  bad,  pay  it  without 
difficulty  ;  and  not  only  do  this,  but  prosper  under  it  be- 
yond what  he  has  ever  done  at  any  former  period.  Had  such 
a  moderate  assessment  ever  been  established,  it  would  un- 
doubtedly have  been  paid  in  money,  because  there  would 
have  been  no  reason  for  continuing  the  expensive  process  of 
making  collections  in  kind.  It  was  because  the  assessment 
was  not  moderate,  that  assessments  in  kind  were  introduced 
or  continued  :  for  a  money  rent  equivalent  to  the  amount 
could  not  have  been  realized  one  year  with  another.      The 

(38)  APPENDIX. 

Hindoo  Governments  seem  to  have  often  wished  that  land 
should  be  both  an  hereditary  and  a  saleable  property  ,•  but 
they  could  not  bring  themselves  to  adopt  the  only  prac- 
ticable mode  of  effecting  it,  a  low  assessment. — Life  of 
Munro,  Vol.  iii.  p.  331. 

Ibid.  p.  3S6. — "  Rayets  sometimes  have  a  landlord*'s 
rent ;  for  it  is  evident  that  whenever  they  so  far  improve 
their  land  as  to  derive  from  it  more  than  the  ordinary  profit 
of  stock,  the  excess  is  landlord's  rent ;  but  they  are  never 
sure  of  long  enjoying  this  advantage,  as  they  are  constantly 
liable  to  be  deprived  of  it  by  injudicious  over  assessment. 
While  this  state  of  insecurity  exists,  no  body  of  substantial 
landholders  can  ever  arise ;  nor  can  the  country  improve,  or 
the  revenue  rest  on  any  solid  foundation.  In  order  to 
make  the  land  generally  saleable,  to  encourage  the  Rayets 
to  improve  it,  and  to  regard  it  as  a  permanent  hereditary 
property,  the  assessment  must  be  fixed,  and  more  mode- 
rate in  general  than  it  now  is;  and  above  all,  so  clearly 
defined  as  not  to  be  liable  to  increase  from  ignorance 
or  caprice." 

Ibid.  p.  339 "  The  land  of  the  Baramahl  will  pro- 
bably in  time  all  become  saleable,  even  under  its  present 
assessment ;  but  private  landed  property  is  of  slow  growth 
in  countries  where  it  has  not  previously  existed,  and  where 
the  Government  revenue  is  nearly  half  the  produce ;  and 
we  must  not  expect  that  it  can  be  hastened  by  regulations 
or  forms  of  settlement,  or  by  any  other  way  than  by  ad- 
hering steadily  to  a  limited  assessment,  and  lowering  it 
wherever,  after  full  experience,  it  may  still  in  particular 
places  be  found  too  high.  By  pursuing  this  course,  or, 
in  other  words,  by  following  what  is  now  called  the 
Rayetwar  system,  we  shall  see  no  sudden  change  or  im- 
provement. The  progress  of  landed  property  will  be  slow, 
but  we  may  look  with  confidence  to  its  ultimate  and  general 

A  P  P  K  N  1)  J  X  .  (39) 

Ibid.  p.  344 "  If  we  wish  to  make  the  lands  of  the 

Rayets  yield  them  a  landlord's  rent,  we  have  only  to  lower 
and  fix  the  assessment,  all  then  in  time  have  the  great 
body  of  the  Rayets  possessing  landed  properties,  yielding 
a  landlord's  rent,  but  small  in  extent." 

Ibid.  p.  352. — "  It  may  be  said  that  Government  having 
set  a  limit  upon  its  demand  upon  the  Zemindar,  he  will 
also  set  a  limit  to  his  demand  upon  the  Rayet,  and  leave 
him  the  full  produce  of  every  improvement,  and  thus 
enable  him  to  render  his  land  a  valuable  property.  But 
we  have  no  reason  to  suppose  that  this  will  be  the  case, 
either  from  the  practice  of  the  new  Zemindars  during 
the  twenty  years  they  have  existed,  or  from,  that  of  the 
old  Zemindars  during  a  succession  of  generations.  In 
old  Zemindarries,  whether  held  by  the  Rajahs  of  the 
Circars,  or  the  Poligars  of  the  more  southern  provinces, 
which  have  from  a  distant  period  been  held  at  a  low 
and  fixed  peshcush,  no  indulgence  has  been  shown  to 
the  Rayets,  no  bound  has  been  set  to  the  demand  upon 
them.  The  demand  has  risen  with  improvement,  ac- 
cording to  the  custom  of  the  country,  and  the  land  of 
the  Rayet  has  no  saleable  value ;  we  ought  not,  therefore, 
to  be  surprised  that  in  the  new  Zemindarries,  whose  assess- 
ment is  so  much  higher,  the  result  has  been  equally  un- 
favourable to  the  Rayets.  The  new  Zemindarries  will,  by 
division  among  heirs  and  failures  in  their  payments,  break 
up  into  portions  of  one  or  two  villages ;  but  this  will  not 
better  the  condition  of  the  Rayet.  It  will  not  fix  the  rent 
of  the  land,  nor  render  it  a  valuable  property  ;  it  will  merely 
convert  one  large  Zemindarry  into  several  small  Zemindar- 
ries or  Mootahs,  and  Mootahs  of  a  kind  of  much  more  in- 
jurious than  those  of  the  Baramahl  to  the  Rayets  ;  because, 
in  the  Baramahl,  the  assessment  of  the  Rayets'  land  had 
previously  been  fixed  by  survey,  while  in  the  new  Zemin- 
darries of  the  Circars  it  had  been  left  undefined.  The 
little  will  in  time  share  the  fate  of  the  great  Zemindarries ; 
fhey  will  be  divided,  and  fail,  and  finally  revert  to  Govern- 

(40)  APPENDIX. 

ment ;  and  the  Rayets,  after  this  long  and  circuitous  course, 
will  again  become  what  they  originally  were,  the  immediate 
tenants  of  Government;  and  Government  will  then  have  it 
in  its  power  to  survey  their  lands,  to  lower  and  Jix  the 
assessment  upon  them,  and  to  lay  the  foundation  of 
landed  property  in  the  lands  of  the  Rayets,  where  alone, 
in  order  to  be  successful,  it  must  be  laid." 

Yet  with  all  these  views  of  the  difficulty  of  establishing 
private  property  in  land.  Sir  Thomas  Munro  declares  the 
ryot  to  be  the  true  proprietor,  possessing  all  that  is  not 
claimed  by  the  sovereign  as  revenue.  This,  he  says,  while 
rejecting  the  proprietary  claims  of  the  Zemindars ;  which 
he  thinks  unduly  magnified. — "  But  the  Rayet  is  the  real 
"  proprietor,  for  whatever  land  does  not  belong  to  the  so- 
"  vereign  belongs  to  him.  The  demand  for  public  revenue, 
"  according  as  it  is  high  or  low  in  different  places,  and 
"  at  different  times,  affects  his  share ;  but  whether  it  leaves 
*'  him  only  the  bare  profit  of  his  stock,  or  a  small  surplus 
"  beyond  it  as  landlord's  rent,  he  is  still  the  true  proprietor, 
"  and  possesses  all  that  is  not  claimed  by  the  sovereign  as 
"revenue." — Vol.  iii.  p.  340.  I  must  refer  the  reader  to 
the  Minute  itself  for  Sir  T.  Munro's  account  of  the  bene- 
ficial proprietary  rights  actually  subsisting  in  Canara,  and 
of  certain  similar  but  subordinate  and  imperfect  rights  ex- 
isting elsewhere.  To  comprehend  the  real  condition  of 
southern  India,  it  would  be  necessary  to  understand  these 
well.  The  plan  of  such  a  work  as  this  will  not  allow  me 
to  dilate  on  them. 

Taking,  then,  the  fact  here  established  by  Sir  T. 
Munro,  that  in  spite  of  the  hereditary  claims  of  the  ryot, 
it  is  extremely  difficult  to  discern,  or  even  establish  a  real 
beneficial  landlord's  interest  among  the  cultivators,  while 
the  assessment  is  high  and  variable,  let  us  apply  this  to 
Rajast'han,  and  to  the  statements  of  Col.  Tod  as  to  the 
Ryot  freeholders  of  Mewar.  Let  us  examine,  first,  the 
relation  between  the  subordinate  chiefs  and  their  imme- 
diate vassals.     The  chiefs,  it  will  be   remembered,    repre- 

APPENDIX.  (41) 

sent  the  sovereign  on  their  estates.  The  vassals  of  Deo- 
gurh  sent  to  the  British  resident  a  long  complaint  of 
their  chief,  to  which  Col.  Tod  often  refers.  The  follow- 
ing are  some  articles.  "  To  each  Rajpoot's  house  a 
"  churras,  or  hide  of  land  was  attached,  this  he  has 
"  resumed.''''  "  Ten  or  twelve  villages  established  by  his 
"  Puttaets  he  has  resumed,  and  left  their  families  to 
"  starve."*'  While  complaining  of  being  driven  from  their 
land,  it  will  be  observed  that  the  proceeding  is  called  by 
themselves  a  resumption.  "  When  Deogurh  was  esta- 
"  Wished,  at  the  same  time  were  our  allotments  :  as  his 
"  patrimony,  so  our  patrimony  :  our  rights  and  privileges 
"  in  his  family  are  the  same  as  his  in  the  family  of  the 
"  presence  (the  sovereign)." — Tod,  p.  199. 

Now  if  these  last  passages  express,  as  I  suspect  they  do, 
the  extent  and  ground  of  their  claims ;  we  know  how  to 
interpret  them.  If  their  interest  in  the  soil  was  similar  to 
that  of  the  chief  in  his  estate,  it  was  a  grant  from  the  sove- 
reign on  certain  conditions ;  resumable  at  pleasure,  although 
practically  rarely  resumed. 

Let  us  next  examine  the  more  direct  relation  between 
the  sovereign  and  the  cultivators  on  his  domain.  The 
following  decree  is  headed  Privileges  and  Immunities 
granted  to  the  Printers  of  Calico  and  Inhabitants  of  the 
Town  of  great  Akola  in  Mewar.  "  Maharana  Bheem  Sing 
*'  commanding.  Whereas  the  village  has  been  abandoned, 
"  from  the  assignments  levied  by  the  garrison  of  Mandel- 
"  gurh,  and  it  being  demanded  of  its  population,  how  it 
"  could  again  be  rendered  prosperous ;  they  unanimously 
"  replied,  '  not  to  exact  beyond  the  dues  and  contributions 
*'  '  established  of  yore  ;  to  erect  the  pillar  promising  never 
"  '  to  exact  above  half  the  produce  of  the  crops,  or  to 
"  '  molest  the  persons  of  those  who  thus  paid  their  dues.'" 
Tod,  p.  206. 

I  leave  the  reader  to  determine  if  this  is  the  language 
of  a  ruler  dealing  with  a  body  of  acknowledged  freeholders^ 

(42)  APPENDIX. 

or  of  an  Indian  owner  of  ryot  land,  promising  to  moderate 
his  demands  for  the  future. 

But  the  most  curious  specimen  of  the  actual  condition 
of  the  ryots  of  Rajast'han,  is  to  be  found  in  the  account  of 
the  management  of  Zalim  Singh,  the  Regent  of  Kotah. 
This  chief  was  the  real  sovereign  of  Kotah ;  though  ad- 
ministering its  affairs  in  the  name  of  a  rajah  fainean.  His 
administration  was  considered  singularly  prudent  and  vi- 
gorous ;  he  is  called  by  Col.  Tod,  the  Nestor  of  India,  and 
is  spoken  of  by  Sir  John  Malcolm  much  in  the  same 
spirit.  The  following  is  an  extract  from  Sir  John's 
"  Central  India."  "  One  of  the  principal  of  the  Rajpoot 
"  rulers  of  central  India,  Zalim  Singh,  has  a  revenue 
*'  system,  which,  like  that  of  his  government,  is  entirely 
"  suited  to  his  personal  character.  He  manages  a  kingdom 
"  like  a  farm,  he  is  the  banker  who  makes  the  advances 
"  to  the  cultivators,  as  well  as  the  ruler  to  whom  they  pay 
"  revenue  :  and  his  terms  of  interest  are  as  high,  as  those  of 
*'  the  most  sordid  money  brokers.  This  places  the  culti- 
"  vators  much  in  his  power,  and  to  increase  this  dependence 
"  he  has  belonging  to  himself  several  thousand  ploughs, 
"  with  hired  laborers,  who  are  not  only  employed  in  re- 
"  coverinor  waste  lands,  but  sent  on  the  instant  to  till  those 
^^ yields  which  the  peasantry  object  to  cultivate,  from  deem- 
"  ing  the  rent  too  high."" — Malcolm's  Cent.  India,  Vol.  ii. 
p.  62. 

Truly  after  reading  these  extracts,  it  is  difficult  to  be- 
lieve, that  the  cultivators  of  Rajast'han  are  in  a  much  more 
elevated  condition,  than  those  of  southern  India ;  among 
whom  Sir  Thomas  Munro  perceived,  that  it  would  be  a 
very  slow  and  difficult  process  to  establish  landed  property 
and  beneficial  interests;  although  he  recognized  in  them 
the  proprietors  of  all  not  claimed  by  the  sovereign  as  re- 

But  there  is  a  position  of  Col.  Tod's  which  yet  re- 
mains to   be  noticed He  cites  the   institutes  of  Menu, 

to  prove  that  lands  throughout  India,  belongs  to  him  who 

APPENDIX.  (43) 

^first  clears  the  wood  and  tills  it ;  and  this  quotation  derives 
rather  more  importance  than  would  otherwise  belong  to  it, 
from  the  fact  that  the  passage  relating  to  the  sovereign's 
right  to  the  soil,  which  is  quoted  in  the  text  from  Cole- 
brooke's  translation  of  the  digest  of  Hindoo  law,  has  been 
suspected  of  having  been  forged  by  the  natives  employed 
to  compile  that  digest,  in  order  to  flatter  some  supposed 
prepossessions  of  those  who  employed  them.  I,  however, 
still  believe,  that  the  law  as  translated  by  Mr.  Colebrooke, 
whether  genuine  or  not,  very  accurately  represents  the 
practical  management  of  the  soil  of  India  for  many  ages. 

He,  (says  Col.  Tod,  speaking  of  the  ryot,)  has  nature 
and  Menu  in  support  of  his  claim,  and  can  quote  the  text, 
alike  compulsory  on  prince  and  peasant.  "  Cultivated  land 
"  is  the  property  of  him  who  cut  away  the  wood,  or  who 
"  cleared  and  tilled  it^  The  following  is  the  text  as  it 
stands  in  Haughton's  edition  of  Menu : 

On  Judicature  and  Law,  Private  and  Criminal,  and  on 
the  Commercial  and  servile  Classes. — Haughton,  p.  293. 

44.  Sages  who  know  former  times,  consider  this  earth 
(Prit'hivi)  as  the  wife  of  King  Prithu ;  and  thus  they  pro- 
nounce cultivated  land  to  be  the  property  of  him,  who  cut 
away  the  wood,  or  who  cleared  and  tilled  it ;  and  the 
antelope,  of  the  first  hunter  who  mortally  wounded  it. 

Now  had  this  passage  been  found  in  a  part  of  the 
code  relating  to  landed  property,  it  would  at  least  have 
carried  with  it  the  authority  of  Menu.  In  that  case  I 
should  have  had  to  recall  to  the  reader's  recollection  the 
small  value  which  Sir  T.  Munro's  experience  led  him  to  at- 
tach to  the  sayings  of  the  ancient  Indian  sages,  when  ques- 
tions arise  as  to  the  actual  law  or  past  practice  of  India 
[see  back,  p.  (37.)]  But,  in  truth,  the  passage  is  found 
in  a  very  different  part  of  the  code ;  a  slight  further 
examination  will  convince  the  reader,  that  this  mytholo- 
gical sage  was  speaking  of  far  other  matters :  and  that 
Col.  Tod  has  fallen  into  a  mistake,  at  which  we  musl 
he   allowed    to    smile. 

(44)  APPENDIX. 

Menu  is  in  fact  deciding  to  whom  the  children  shall 
belong,  born  of  an  adulterous  intercourse  between  a  mar- 
ried woman  and  her  paramour.  "  Learn  now  that  ex- 
"  cellent  law  universally  salutary,  which  was  declared, 
"  concerning  issue,  by  great  and  good  sages  formerly 
"  born,"  and  illustrating  this  in  his  own  allegorical 
fashion,  he  compares  the  earth  to  the  lady ;  and  declares, 
that  he  who  received  her  virgin  charms  should  be  the 
owner  of  all  the  progeny  she  might  produce,  under  any 
circumstances,  however  strong,  of  detected  or  permitted 
faithlessness;  and  that  as  cultivated  ground  belonged  to 
him  who  first  tilled  it,  and  the  antelope  to  the  first 
hunter  who  mortally  wounded  it,  so  "  men  who  have 
"  no  marital  property  in  women,  but  sow  in  the  fields 
"  owned  by  others,  may  raise  up  fruit  to  the  husband, 
"  but  the  procreator   can  have  no  advantage  from  it."" 

This  subject  Menu  pursues  from  31  p.  291  to  55  p.  295. 
of  Haughton,  and  follows  up  his  illustration  by  putting 
a  variety  of  cases  which  I  certainly  shall  not  quote,  but 
which  once  read,  will  effectually  (I  should  think)  pre- 
vent any  person''s  again  referring  to  this  passage,  as  a 
grave  authority  for  the  laws  relating  to  landed  property 
in  India. 

When  deliberately  speaking  of  the  rights  of  the  sove- 
reign, the  code  uses  a  language  in  complete  unison  with 
the  actual  usages  of  the  country.  "  If  land  be  injured 
'*  by  the  fault  of  the  farmer  himself,  as  if  he  fails  to 
"  sow  it  in  due  time,  he  shall  be  fined  ten  times  as  much 
"  as  the  king"'s  share  of  the  crop  that  might  otherwise  have 
"  been  raised :  but  only  five  times  as  much  if  it  was  the 
"  fault  of  his  servants  without  his  knowledge." — On  Judi- 
cature and  Law,  243,  p.  259  of  Haughton's  Translation. 

The  same  imperfect  right,  however,  to  hereditary 
occupation,  while  the  demands  of  the  sovereign  are  satis- 
fied, which  is  every  where  conceded  to  the  ryots,  is  also 
still  conceded  in  some  parts  of  India  (not  in  all)  to  the 
first  reclaimer  of  waste  or  deserted  ground. 

APPENDIX.  (45) 

Extracts  from  a  firmaun  of  the  Emperor  Aurenzebe, 
A.  D.  1668,  published  by  Mr.  Patton  in  his  Principles  of 
Jsiatic  Monarchies.  The  firmaun  consists  of  instructions 
to  the  government  collectors. 

p.  343 "  In  a  place   where  neither  asher   nor  kheraj 

(mowezzefF)  are  yet  settled  upon  agriculture,  they  shall  act 
as  directed  in  the  law.  In  case  of  kheraj  (mowezzeff),  they 
shall  settle  for  such  a  rate,  that  the  ryots  may  not  be  ruined 
by  the  lands;  and  they  shall  not,  on  any  account,  exact 
beyond  (the  value  of)  half  of  the  produce,  notwithstanding 
any  (particular)  ability  to  pay  more.  In  a  place  where 
(one  or  the  other)  is  fixed,  they  shall  take  what  has  been 
agreed  for,  provided  that  in  kheraj  (mowezzefF)  it  does 
not  exceed  the  half  (of  the  produce  in  money),  that  the 
ryots  may  not  be  ruined  :  but  if  (what  is  settled  appear 
to  be  too  much)  they  shall  reduce  the  former  kheraj  to 
what  shall  be  found  proportionable  to  their  ability ;  how- 
ever, if  the  capacity  exceeds  the  settlement,  they  shall 
not  take  more." 

p.  540 "  They   must  shew   the  ryots  every   kind  of 

favour  and  indulgence ;  inquire  into  their  circumstances ; 
and  endeavour,  by  wholesome  regulations  and  wise  admi- 
nistration, to  engage  them,  with  hearty  good  will,  to 
labour  towards  the  increase  of  agriculture ;  so  that  no 
lands  may  be  neglected  that  are  capable  of  cultivation. 

From  the  commencement  of  the  j^ear  they  shall,  as 
far  as  they  are  able,  acquire  information  of  the  circum- 
stances of  every  husbandman,  whether  they  are  employed 
in  cultivation,  or  have  neglected  it :  then,  those  who 
have  the  ability,  they  shall  excite  and  encourage  to  cul- 
tivate their  lands;  and  if  they  require  indulgence  in  any 
particular  instances,  let  it  be  granted  them ;  but  if,  upon 
examination,  it  shall  be  found,  that  some  who  have  the 
ability,  and  are  assisted  with  water,  nevertheless  have 
neglected  to  cultivate  their  lands,  they  shall  admonish, 
and  threaten,   and   use  force  and  stripes.'''' 

Yet   in    this   and   in   another   firmaun,  also  published 

(46)  APPENDIX. 

by  Mr.  Patton,  Aurenzebe  speaks  very  tenderly  of  the 
rights  of  the  cultivators  as  proprietors,  and  is  clearly 
anxious  to  substitute  a  milder  mode  of  management  for 
the  one  actually  in  use. 

The  case   was  much   worse   with   the  ryots   when  the 
Mogul  government  was  broken  up. 

Indian  Recreations  by  the  Rev.  W.  Tennant,  Vol.  iii. 

pp.  188 — 90 "  This    aspect    of   the  native   governments 

merits  the  greater  notice,  because  it  forms  not  an  acci- 
dental or  temporary  feature  in  their  character,  but  a  per- 
manent state  of  society.  It  is  a  maxim  among  the  native 
politicians,  to  regard  their  "  State  as  continually  at  war.'* 
Hence  their  military  chiefs  are  not  permitted  for  a  moment 
to  indulge  the  habits  of  civil  life ;  nor  do  they  experience 
the  shelter  of  a  house  for  many  years  successively.  Their 
camps  are  not  broken  up ;  nor,  except  during  a  march, 
are  their  tents  ever  struck.  The  intervals  of  foreign 
hostility  are  occupied  in  the  collection  of  revenue ;  a  mea- 
sure, which  in  India  is  generally  executed  by  a  military 
force,  and  is  more  fertile  in  extensive  bloodshed  and  bar- 
barity, as  well  as  in  the  varied  scenes  of  distress,  than 
an  actual  campaign  against  an  avowed  enemy. 

The  refractory  Zemindars,  (as  they  are  denominated) 
upon  whom  the  troops  are  let  loose,  betake  themselves, 
on  their  approach,  to  a  neighbouring  mud  fort ;  one  of 
which  is  erected  for  protection,  in  the  vicinity  of  almost 
every  village.  There  the  inhabitants  endeavour  to  secure 
themselves,  their  cattle,  and  effects,  till  they  are  com- 
pelled by  force  or  famine  to  submit.  The  garrison  is 
then  razed  to  the  foundation,  and  the  village  burnt,  to 
expiate  a  delinquency,  too  frequently  occasioned  solely 
by  the  iniquitous  exactions  of  government  itself. 

In  these  military  executions,  some  of  the  peasantry 
are  destroyed ;  some  fall  victims  to  famine  thus  artificially 
created,  and  not  a  few  are  sold,  with  their  wives  and 
children,  to  defray  their  arrears  to  the  treasury,  or  to 
discharge  the  aggravated  burdens   imposed   by   the  land- 

APFK  NUIX.  (47) 

holders.  Such  as  survive,  betake  themselves  to  the  woods, 
till  the  departure  of  their  oppressors  encourages  them  to 
revisit  their  smoking  habitations,  and  to  repair  their  ruins. 
Thus  harrassed  by  the  injustice  and  barbarity  of  their 
rulers,  the  peasantry  lose  all  sense  of  right  and  wrong  ; 
from  want,  they  are  forced  to  become  robbers  in  their 
turn,  and  to  provoke,  by  their  fraud  or  violence,  a  re- 
petition of  the  same  enormities  against  the  next  annual 
visitation  of  the  army." 

The  fixing  the  poor  ryot  to  the  hereditary  task  of 
cultivation,  was  evidently,  under  even  the  best  of  such 
governments,  a  great  gain  to  the  sovereign,  and  a  mise- 
rable privilege  to  him. 

Buchanan ""s  Edit.  Smith''s  Wealth  of  Nations,  Vol.  iv. 
App.  p.  86. — "  Mr.  Place,  to  whom  the  management  of  the 
jaghire,  that  surrounds  the  presidency  of  Madras,  was 
committed,  when  describing  a  certain  species  of  tenant, 
observes,  that  by  granting  them  the  lands  "  to  them  and 
"  their  heirs  for  ever,  as  long  as  they  continued  in  obe- 
"  dience  to  the  Circar,  and  paid  all  just  dues,  he  was 
"  enabled  to  convert  the  most  stubborn  soil  and  thickest 
"jingle  into  fertile  villages." 

The  same  sentiments  were  expressed  by  Colonel  Mun- 
ro,  who  had  the  charge  of  several  districts.  He  saw 
clearly,  that  the  high  assessment  on  the  land  checked 
agriculture  and  population ;  and  on  this  account,  he 
strongly  recommended  to  government  a  remission  of  the 
tribute.  His  views  were  admitted  to  be  just;  but  the 
public  necessities  were  pleaded  as  an  apology  for  a  tax,  the 
effect  of  which  it  appears  is  to  keep  back  the  cultivation  of 
the  country. — "  It  is  the  high  assessment  on  the  land,"  the 
members  of  the  board  of  revenue  observe,  "  which  Colonel 
"  Munro  justly  considers  the  chief  check  to  population. 
"  Were  it  not  for  the  pressure  of  this  heavy  rent,  popula- 
"  tion,  he  thinks,  ought  to  increase  even  faster  than  in 
"  America;  because  the  climate  is  more  favourable,   and 

(4-8)  APPENDIX. 

"  there  are  vast  tracts  of  good  land  unoccupied,  which  may 
"  be  ploughed  at  once,  without  the  labour  or  expence  of 
**  clearing  away  forests,  as  there  is  above  three  millions  of 
"  acres  of  this  kind  in  the  ceded  districts.  He  is  of  opinion 
"  that  a  great  increase  of  population,  and  consequently  of 
"  land  revenue,  might  be  expected  in  the  course  of  twenty- 
"  five  years,  from  the  operation  of  the  remission.  But  a 
"  remission  to  a  few  zemindars,  he  apprehends,  would  not 
"  remedy  the  evil,  nor  remove  the  weight  which  at  present 
"  depresses  population. 

"  Under  the  system  proposed,  Colonel  Munro  con- 
"  ceives,  that  cultivation  and  population  would  increase  so 
"  much,  that,  in  the  course  of  twenty-five  years,  lands  for- 
*'  merly  cultivated,  amounting  to  star  pagodas  5,55,962, 
"  would  be  relieved  and  occupied,  together  with  a  consider- 
*'  able  portion  of  waste,  never  before  cultivated.  The  ex- 
"  tension  of  cultivation,  however,  would  not  make  the  farms 
*'  larger,  and  thereby  facilitate  collection.  The  enlarge- 
*'  ment  of  farms  or  estates  is  at  present  prevented  by  the 
"  want  of  property ;  hereafter  it  would  be  prevented  by 
"  its  division. 

"  This  is  the  outline  of  Colonel  Munro's  plan,  which 
"  is  not  less  applicable  to  all  tfee  districts  as  yet  unsettled, 
*'  than  to  the  ceded  districts ;  and,  if  the  exigencies  of 
*'  government  allowed  of  such  a  sacrijice  as  a  remission  of 
"  the  present  standard  rents,  to  the  extent  of  25  per  cent.., 
*'  or  even  of  15  per  cent..,  we  should  consider  the  measure 
"  highly  advisable,  and  calculated  to  produce  great  ulterior 
"  advantages.  Indeed,  it  would  be  absurd  to  dispute,  that 
"  the  less  we  take  from  the  cultivator  of  the  produce  of  his 
"  labour,  the  more  flourishing  will  be  his  condition."' 

"  But,  if  the  exigencies  of  government  do  not  permit 
"  them  to  make  so  great  a  sacrifice  ;  if  they  cannot  at  once 
**  confer  the  boon  of  private  property,  they  must  be  con- 
"  tent  to  establish  a  private  interest  in  the  soil,  as  efFectu- 
"  ally  as  they  can  under  the  farming  system.  If  they 
**  cannot  afford  to  give  up  a  share  of  the  landlord's  renty 

APPENDIX.  (49) 

"  they  must  be  indulgent  landlords."    See  Report  of  Select 
Committee^  Appendir. 

For  examples  of  the  rate  at  which  population  and  pro- 
duce have  increased  under  mild  government,  I  must  refer 
the  reader  to  accounts  of  Col.  Read's  administration  of  the 
Mysore,  Sir  Thomas  Munro's  of  the  ceded  districts,  and 
to  Sir  John  Malcolm's  picture  of  the  rapid  revival  of  cen- 
tral India,  after  the  destruction  of  the  Mahratta  sway. 
I  find  that  extracts  would  swell  this  Appendix  too  much. 


Hage      I.Uu- 

21.     13.     for  labor  or  read  labor  on. 

1)3.  Note,  for  Dixavu-  read  Dixme. 
135.     22.     for  Sarmacan  read  Sarmacand. 
144.     10.     for  supports  read  support. 
155.       1.     dele  &0//1. 

162.     22.     for  fty  wAicA  are  read  by  rohicU  (key  arc. 

174.  Note,  for  66.  read  86. 
188.     12.     for  purposes  read  purpose. 
214.     21.     for  an  unlimited  read  a  limited. 
265.      9.     insert  a  semi-colon  after  cloi/i,  and  omit  it  after  cotn. 


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